This work focuses on the performances of two immersed membrane bioreactors used for the treatment of easily biodegradable organic matter present in food industry effluents, for the purpose of water reuse. Two reactor functioning modes (continuous and sequencing) were compared in terms of organic carbon removal and of membrane permeability. For each working mode, pollutant removal was very high, treated water quality presented a low COD concentration (<125 mg.L−1), no solids in suspension and low turbidity (<0.5 NTU). The quality of the treated water (including germ removal) enabled its reuse on site. Moreover, by developing high biomass concentrations in the reactor, excess sludge production remained very low (<0.1 gVSS.gCOD−1). The performances appeared slightly better for the continuous system (lower COD concentration in the effluent, <50 mg.L−1, and lower sludge production). In terms of filtration, a distinct difference was observed between continuous and sequencing systems; transmembrane pressure showed a small and constant evolution rate in continuous membrane bioreactor (CMBR) although it appeared more difficult to control in sequencing membrane bioreactor (SMBR) probably due to punctually higher permeate flow rate and modified suspension properties. The rapid evolution of membrane permeability observed in SMBR was such that more frequent chemical cleaning of the membrane system was required.

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