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The influence of solid retention time on IFAS-MBR systems: analysis of system behavior

  • Authors: Mannina, Giorgio; Capodici, Marco; Cosenza, Alida; Di Trapani, Daniele*; Viviani, Gaspare
  • Publication year: 2018
  • Type: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • Key words: biofilm; membrane fouling; nutrients removal; sludge retention time; University of Cape Town pilot plant; Environmental Chemistry; Water Science and Technology; Waste Management and Disposal
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A University of Cape Town Integrated Fixed-Film Activated Sludge Membrane Bioreactor (UCT-IFAS-MBR) pilot plant was operated at different values of the sludge retention time (SRT). Three SRTs were investigated at different durations: indefinitely, 30 and 15 days. The organic carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus removal, kinetic/stoichiometric parameters, membrane fouling tendency and sludge filtration properties were assessed. The findings showed that by decreasing the SRT, the pilot plant could maintain excellent carbon removal efficiencies throughout the experiments. In contrast, the biological carbon removal showed a slight nitrification and was slightly affected by the decrease of the SRT, showing high performance (approximately 91%, on average). Thus, the biofilm might have helped sustain the nitrification throughout the experiments. The average phosphorus removal performance increased slightly with a decrease in SRT, achieving the maximum efficiency (61.5%) at a SRT of 15 days. After a 30-day SRT, an increase in resistance due to pore blocking and a general worsening of the membrane filtration properties occurred.