A cross-flow membrane bioreactor (MBR) for raw municipal wastewater treatment, consisting of a suspended growth bioreactor and a ceramic membrane ultrafiltration unit, was run over a period of more than 300 days in a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). Sludge Retention Times (SRT) of 20, 10 and 5 days, respectively, and Hydraulic Retention Times (HRT) of 15 and 7.5 hours were tested. Membrane fouling was found to be a function of SRT and permeate flux. Under an SRT of 20 days and flux of 71 l/m2\ · h at 30°C, the MBR was successfully run over 70 days without the need for chemical cleaning. However chemical cleaning had to be undertaken every 3–5 days at shorter sludge retention times (typically an SRT of five days and a flux of 143 l/m2\ · h at 30°C). In this study, fouling materials were removed efficiently through chemical cleaning, with an average permeablity recovery of 87±11%.

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