A pilot scale experiment was conducted to evaluate the performance of a membrane bioreactor filled with high concentration powdered activated carbon. This hybrid system has great potential to substitute for existing GAC or O3/BAC processes in the drinking water treatment train. The system was installed at a water treatment plant located downstream of the Nakdong river basin, Korea. Effluent of rapid sand filter was used as influent of the system which consists of PAC bio-reactor, submerged MF membrane module and air supply facility. PAC concentration of 20 g/L was maintained at the beginning of the experiment and it was increased to 40 g/L. The PAC has not been changed during the operational periods. The membrane was a hollow fiber type with pore sizes of 0.1 and 0.4 µm. It was apparent that the high PAC concentration could prevent membrane fouling. 40 g/L PAC was more effective to reduce the filtration resistance than 20 g/L. At the flux of 0.36 m/d, TMP was maintained less than 40 kPa for about 3 months by intermittent suction type operation (12 min suction/3 min idling). Adsorption was the dominant role to remove DOC at the initial operational period. However the biological effect was gradually increased after around 3 months operation. Constant DOC removal could be maintained at about 40% without any trouble and then a tremendous reduction of DBPs (HAA5 and THM) higher than 85% was achieved. Full nitrification was observed at the controlled influent ammonia nitrogen concentration of 3 and 7 mg/L. pH was an important parameter to keep stable ammonia oxidation. From almost two years of operation, it is clear that the PAC membrane bioreactor is highly applicable for advanced water treatment under the recent situation of more stringent DBPs regulation in Korea.

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