The paper describes the experience gained in operating a membrane bioreactor (MBR) for the treatment of blackwater. Beside a complete characterization of blackwater, operational conditions and removal efficiency concerning parameters such as COD, BOD5, nitrogen and phosphorus as well as microbiological parameters were determined. Furthermore the membrane performance was investigated. The results show that in blackwater treatment nitrogen removal is limited in the biological process, because of the blackwater matrix (BOD5:TKN=1.1:1.0). Blackwater contains a high fraction of soluble, inert COD, which is not degradable by biological operation, only. Phosphorus elimination was negligible, probably induced by precipitation of cellular phosphorus. Although the released permeate was free of the fecal indicators E. coli and streptococcus and met guideline values, a direct reuse as service water is not recommended due to the yellowish coloration.

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