This research investigated the membrane fouling and micro-pollutant removals in treatment of municipal landfill leachate at various pH levels (i.e. 5.5, 6.5, 7.5, and 8.5) using membrane bioreactors. The findings revealed that membrane fouling was influenced by the pH level of mixed liquor, with pH 5.5 exhibiting the most severe membrane fouling. At pH 5.5, proteins and carbohydrates were predominant in the membrane foulants, while at pH 8.5 humic-like and inorganic substances constituted the largest proportion of the foulants on the membrane surface. The removal efficiencies of micro-pollutants (bisphenol-A; 2,6-di-tert-butylphenol and 2,6-di-tert-butyl-4-methylbutylphenol) were nevertheless insignificantly influenced by the pH levels of mixed liquor. In addition, the removal rates of the compounds at pH 5.5 were slightly lower vis-à-vis at the higher pH levels. The micro-pollutant retention on the fouled membranes was also significant and highest under the mixed liquor pH of 8.5. Furthermore, the experiments demonstrated that the varying degrees of rejection by the fouled membranes could be attributed to the alteration of foulant characteristics as a result of the pH variations.

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