A laboratory staged anaerobic fluidized membrane bioreactor (SAF-MBR) system was applied to the treatment of primary clarifier effluent from a domestic wastewater treatment plant with temperature decreasing from 25 to 10 °C. At all temperatures and with a total hydraulic retention time of 2.3 h, overall chemical oxygen demand (COD) and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5) removals were 89% and 94% or higher, with permeate COD and BOD5 of 30 and 7 mg/L or lower, respectively. No noticeable negative effects of low temperature on organic removal were found, although a slight increase to 3 mg/L in volatile fatty acids concentrations in the effluent was observed. Biosolids production was 0.01–0.03 kg volatile suspended solids/kg COD, which is far less than that with aerobic processes. Although the rate of trans-membrane pressure at the membrane flux of 9 L/m2/h increased as temperature decreased, the SAF-MBR was operated for longer than 200 d before chemical cleaning was needed. Electrical energy potential from combustion of the total methane production (gaseous and dissolved) was more than that required for system operation.

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