Effect of biopolymer clusters on the fouling property of sludge from a membrane bioreactor (MBR) and its control by ozonation
Organic substances in the liquid phase of the sludge in a membrane bioreactor (MBR) have a profound impact on membrane fouling. In this study, a single-fibre microfiltration apparatus was developed to investigate the fouling propensity of MBR sludge and the effectiveness of ozonation in membrane fouling mitigation. The results show that biopolymer clusters (BPC) in the MBR suspension had a significant influence on the fouling potential of the sludge. An increase in BPC concentration by 20% and 60% from around 3.5 mg/l in the mixed sludge liquor drastically increased the fouling rate by 120% and 300%, respectively. Ozonation of the BPC solution greatly reduced the detrimental role of BPC in membrane fouling. An ozone dose of 0.03 mg/mg TOC of BPC could reduce the mean BPC size from 38 to 27 μm, which was further reduced to 12 μm at 0.3 mg O3/mg TOC of BPC. In addition to BPC destruction, ozonation apparently also modified the surface properties of BPC, resulting in an increase in the filterable fraction and a decrease in the liquid viscosity. Based on the experimental findings, an approach for MBR membrane fouling control is proposed that applies ozonation to the supernatant containing BPC in a side-stream application.
Journal: Process Biochemistry - Volume 46, Issue 1, January 2011, Pages 162–167