Effects of Hydraulic Retention Time on the Performance of a Membrane Bioreactor Treating Municipal Wastewater

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD Student of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Shiraz University

2 Assist. Prof., Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Shiraz University

3 Prof., Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Shiraz University


There is an increasing demand for effluents of higher quality from wastewater treatment plants due to the more stringent quality standards as well as the increasing pressure on water resources worldwide, which calls for effluent recycle and reuse. Membrane bioreactors (MBRs) have been recently gaining rapid popularity as a promising technology for wastewater treatment. In order to improve the quality of the effluent from Shiraz wastewater treatment plant, an on-site pilot-scale membrane bioreactor was operated for 9 months. The pilot plant built at Shiraz wastewater treatment plant consisted of an aerobic reactor and a membrane compartment containing one submerged hollow fiber membrane module. In this study, eleven different aerobic hydraulic retention times (HRT) ranging from 2 to 12 hours were tested to determine the membrane capacity and to investigate the performance of the system in removing total ammonia nitrogen, organic matter, total suspended solids, and turbidity.The system recorded a perfectly stable removal efficiency over the whole experimental period, except for the 2-hour aerobic HRT, so that its COD and BOD reductions exceeded 95% and 99%, respectively. Moreover, the system achieved complete nitrification in a stable manner during the whole study period, except for the 2-hour aerobic operation period. TSS concentration was almost zero and turbidity was less than 1 NTU. Membrane capacity measurements showed an average flux of 5.5 Lm-2h-1 with a mean trans-membrane pressure difference of 30 kPa. Results showed that the MBR outperformed the conventional sewage treatment processes. Additionally, it was not affected by aerobic HRT changes (12, 10, 8, 6, 4, and 3h). Based on the effluent qulity, teh system may be recommended for application toward water reuse in industrial and agricultural settings


Main Subjects

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