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HIDROSALUD

HIDROSALUD

ACIVATED SLUDGE TREATMENT VS


MEMBRANE BIOREACTOR TREATMENT

HIDROSALUD

SUMARY

1.

INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................... 2

2.

MEMBRANE BIORREACTOR .................................................................................. 2

2.1. TREATED WATER QUALITY ................................................................................... 2


2.2. OPERATING FLEXIBILITY ....................................................................................... 2
2.3. SIZE OF FACILITIES................................................................................................ 3
2.4. HIGH RATE OF DEGRADATION ............................................................................. 3
2.5. RESISTANCE LOAD OSCILLATIONS AND LOW TEMPERATURES ...................... 3
2.6. LOW SLUDGE PRODUCTION ................................................................................. 4
2.7. DISINFECTION AND ODOR CONTROL .................................................................. 4
3.

TREATED WATER QUALITY ................................................................................... 4

4.

EFFLUENT QUALITY COMPARATION: CONVENTIONAL PROCESS VS


MBR. ........................................................................................................................ 4

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1. INTRODUCTION
Conventional biological treatments are based on the use of microorganisms capable of
assimilating the suspended or dissolved substances present in wastewater, in order to
incorporate cellular metabolism and energy.
The membrane bioreactor technology is a modification of the conventional biological
treatment process where the secondary settling tank is replaced for the membranes.
Membrane bioreactors can be defined as the combination of two basic processes
(biological degradation and membrane separation) in a single process where
suspended solids and microorganisms are responsible for the biodegradation and they
are separated from the treated water through a filtration unit membrane.
The total biomass is confined within the system, providing a perfect control of the
residence time of the microorganisms in the reactor (sludge age), and the disinfection
of the effluent.
2.

MEMBRANE BIORREACTOR

The main features of the MBR can be summarized in the quality of treated water, the
small size of the plant, low sludge production coupled with high sludge age and
operational flexibility.
Therefore, the mains advantages of the technology associated with the MBR are:
2.1. TREATED WATER QUALITY

The biggest problem of the conventional activated sludge is the right sedimentation
of the biomass. The concentration of suspended solids in the treated water affects
the effluent quality. Instead in a MBR, the micro or ultra filtration membranes
remove all suspended solid without adding chemicals. The pollutant elimination in
the MBR systems achieves in many cases a percentage of 95%.
2.2. OPERATING FLEXIBILITY

The production of waste sludge in the MBR is very small and keeps a high sludge
age regardless of HRT (hydraulic retention time). The complete control of sludge
age

is

especially

important

to

allow the

development

of

slow-growing

microorganisms. In contrast, conventional systems to maintain high sludge age also

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need a high HRT, which generally involves the construction of large reactors, with
consequent economic and space problems.
2.3. SIZE OF FACILITIES

The MBR allows working with very small ratio between feed and mass of
microorganism. Biomass concentration is much higher than in a conventional
system. While typical levels of a conventional aerobic system are between 2 and 5
g/l, in a MBR can reach 8 to 12 g/l. When the sludge concentration exceeds these
values

the viscosity increases

considerably so difficult filtration through

membranes. Furthermore the oxygen transfer decreases thus the energy aeration
requirements are higher.
If we increase the concentration of sludge in the reactor, the size decreases in a
proportional manner. In addition, the MBR saves space representing the settling
tank. Theres no need for a tertiary system to reach the same effluent quality which
decreases the space requirements.
2.4. HIGH RATE OF DEGRADATION

The fact that the biomass does not pass through the membranes and remain in the
biological reactor makes their concentration to be higher. Because of this and the
fact that the bio oxidation process is exothermic, it is easier to maintain ideal high
temperature so degradation activity is increased.
Biomass needs nutrients and oxygen. The size of the flocs in the MBR is below 100
m, whereas in a conventional system found very different sizes (from 0.5 to 1000
m). This smaller size makes the system better oxygen utilization by
microorganisms and better provision of nutrients, leading to higher metabolic
activity.
2.5. RESISTANCE LOAD OSCILLATIONS AND LOW TEMPERATURES

The high biomass concentration can dampen oscillations from influent load without
affecting the quality of the permeate. Moreover the activity of microorganisms
makes the reactor to maintain a constant temperature without being dependent on
the temperature of the medium, making this system able to be used in cold
environments.

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2.6. LOW SLUDGE PRODUCTION

In a MBR process the waste sludge flow is low so the sludge remains more time in
the reactor. After a relatively short period of time equilibrium between the living and
the dead biomass is established. The low mass load and high sludge age causes
low production of it (if the sludge age is between 50 and 100 days, then its
production is much lower).

2.7. DISINFECTION AND ODOR CONTROL

The filtration process removes microorganisms as fungi, bacteria, algae, amoeba


and protozoa without adding chemical reagents. We dont have odor generation
because the equipment is sealed.

3. TREATED WATER QUALITY


The quality of municipal wastewater treated in a MBR meets following discharge
limitation:
BOD: <5 mg / l
Ammonia nitrogen: 1 mg / l
Total nitrogen: <3 mg / l (warm weather)
Turbidity: <0.5 NTU
Suspended solids (SS): <5 mg / l
Total phosphorus: <5
Fecal coliform: <5 CFU/100 ml

4. EFFLUENT QUALITY COMPARATION: CONVENTIONAL PROCESS VS MBR.


The following table shows differences of the effluent quality between conventional
activated sludge process and MBR.

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Parameter

Raw water

Activated sludge

MBR

Effluent

Efficiency (%)

Effluent

Efficiency (%)

COD (mg/l)

520

75

85.6

15

97.1

Pt (mg/l)

15.0

7.9

47.3

2.25

85.0

PO4 (mg/l)

10.5

7.1

32.4

1.90

81.9

SS (mg/l)

110

40

63.6

<5

100

Turbidity

38

15

60.5

0.44

98.8

TKN (mg/l)

48.3

30.2

37.5

3.4

93.0

35.0

20

42.9

1.0

94.6

-3

N-NH4 (mg/l)

The efficiency obtained from the conventional activated sludge treatment is lower due
to limitations in separation of suspended solids in the secondary clarifier. Sludge
sedimentation is affected by different factors that can deteriorate the effluent quality.
Most commonly is caused by excessive growth of filamentous microorganisms that
produce bulking and suspended solids can escape with the effluent.
This phenomenon usually occurs in low mass loading, nutrient deficiency or low
oxygen concentration. A 75 % percentage of wastewater treatment plants periodically
present bulking, which gives us an idea of the importance of this problem.
Other causes of bad sedimentation are: deflocculating caused by input toxic
components to the reactor, the rise of the sludge to liberate nitrogen gas by
denitrification. Any problem that results in an bad sedimentation of the biomass would
worse effluent quality.

In MBR technology you dont have these problems. The permeat water is always
without suspended solids.