The impact of fouling on the operation of submerged membrane bioreactors (MBRs) is discussed. The discussion proceeds through a review of the impacts of fouling and fouling speciation, with correlations of filterability against candidate foulants being provided. There follows a brief comparison of hydraulic performance of the submerged and sidestream configurations: data is presented to demonstrate the efficacy of coarse bubble aeration in the submerged MBR. The critical flux concept is then discussed and its applicability to MBRs deliberated in view of recent publications demonstrating fouling under sub-critical flux conditions. Finally, the two most commercially important MBR products are briefly reviewed with specific reference to design and operation for fouling amelioration.

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