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Fouling control in a lab-scale MBR system: Comparison of several commercially applied coagulants

Gkotsis, P.K., Batsari, E.L., Peleka, E.N., Tolkou, A.K., Zouboulis, A.I.
Journal of environmental management 2017 v.203 pp. 838-846
biodegradation, coagulants, coagulation, colloids, control methods, ferric chloride, filterability, flocculation, fouling, membrane bioreactors, organic matter, pollutants, wastewater, wastewater treatment
The Membrane bioreactors (MBRs) integrate the biological degradation of pollutants with membrane filtration-separation during wastewater treatment. Membrane fouling, which is considered as the main process drawback, stems from the interaction between the membrane material and the (organic or inorganic) foulants, leading to membrane's efficiency deterioration. It is widely recognized that the mixed liquor colloidal and Soluble Microbial Products (SMP) are in principal responsible for this undesirable situation. As a result, the appropriate pretreatment of wastewater feed is often considered as necessary procedure and the coagulation/flocculation (C/F) process is regarded as a relevant viable option for wastewater treatment by MBRs in order to improve the effective removal of suspended solids (SS), of colloidal particles, of natural organic matter (NOM), as well as of other soluble materials. The objective of this study is the application of coagulation/flocculation for fouling control of MBR systems by using several commercially available chemical coagulant/flocculant agents. For this purpose, an appropriate lab-scale continuous-flow, fully automatic MBR system has been assembled and various (inorganic) coagulants (i.e. FeCl3∙6H2O, Fe2(SO4)3·5H2O, FeClSO4, PFS0.3, PAC A9-M, PAC-A16, Al2(SO4)3·18H2O, FO4350SSH, NaAlO2) have been examined. Filterability tests and SMP concentration measurements were also conducted in order to investigate the reversible, as well as the irreversible fouling, respectively. Based upon the obtained results and after selecting the most efficient coagulants (FeCl3·6H2O, Fe2(SO4)3·5H2O, FeClSO4, PAC-A9, PAC-A16), an attempt was subsequently performed to correlate the major fouling indices (i.e. TMP, TTF, SMP concentration) in order to improve the overall process operability by this fouling control method.