A pilot-scale hybrid membrane bioreactor using a submerged flat panel membrane was designed and applied for advanced treatment of domestic wastewater. The new process adapted to the hybrid membrane bioreactor exhibits substantial decrease in membrane fouling and much easier cleaning. In this study, the new process configurations including the addition of anoxic/anaerobic zones, the package of synthetic fibrous fabric carrier for biofilm attached growth, activated sludge recycling and modified dosage of polished diatomite with high activity and multi-functions were investigated to select the optimal operational parameters for the hybrid membrane bioreactor system. The carrier package in the aerobic zone contributed 3.65 g/L (maximum) of fixed biomass to the system, thus reducing the suspended biomass, and has decreased the membrane cleaning cycle remarkably. The operation performance at the sludge recycle rate 0, 100%, 200% and 300% showed that, the trans-membrane pressure of flat panel membrane declined sharply with the increase of sludge recycling rate within a certain range, and 200% was decided to be optimal for in the membrane bioreactor system. EPS concentration in each sludge recycling rate was 135 mg/L, 92 mg/L, 68 mg/L and 55 mg/L respectively. The addition of anoxic and anaerobic zones degraded some large molecular organic compounds, which facilitated the biodegradation and removal of organic substances in aerobic zone. The modified dosage of polished diatomite has played a major important role for both preventing of membrane from fouling and its much easier cleaning when it formed.

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