Project #1621

Investigation of Membrane Bioreactor Effluent Water Quality and Technology

Principal Investigator
Reuse, Membrane Technology
Water Quality


Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) technology has become well established worldwide over the last decade as an activated sludge process option for advanced treatment and recycling of municipal and industrial wastewater. The MBR process utilizes low-pressure membrane filters that are submerged within or adjacent to the conventional activated sludge (CAS) reactor, which eliminates the need for a secondary clarifier or tertiary filters. Although the effluent water quality of MBR processes has been reported to be superior to that of CAS systems, largely attributed to the membrane barrier, the water quality performance of pilot- and full-scale MBR processes indicate varying degrees of performance with respect to microbes, nutrients, aggregate organics, trace organic compounds, and trace metals. The project synthesizes a dispersed body of research on the application of MBR technology for municipal wastewater treatment available from literature reviews, case studies, bench and pilot-scale testing, system comparisons, and full-scale demonstrations, and supplements it with effluent quality data predictions obtained from operation scenarios with an MBR model developed as part of the study.

Originally funded as WERF project Reuse-06-07.