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Water Science & Technology Vol 53 No 7 pp 33–42 © IWA Publishing 2006

Tracking particle size distributions in a moving bed biofilm membrane reactor for treatment of municipal wastewater

R.M. Åhl*, T. Leiknes** and H. Ødegaard***

* NTNU, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Department of Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering, S.P. Andersensvei 5, N-7491 Trondheim, Norway, (E-mail: magnus.ahl@ntnu.no; torove.leiknes@ntnu.no; hallvard.odegard@ntnu.no)
** NTNU, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Department of Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering, S.P. Andersensvei 5, N-7491 Trondheim, Norway, (E-mail: magnus.ahl@ntnu.no; torove.leiknes@ntnu.no; hallvard.odegard@ntnu.no)
*** NTNU, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Department of Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering, S.P. Andersensvei 5, N-7491 Trondheim, Norway, (E-mail: magnus.ahl@ntnu.no; torove.leiknes@ntnu.no; hallvard.odegard@ntnu.no)


ABSTRACT
A study has been conducted to investigate the effect of loading rates on membrane fouling in a moving bed biofilm membrane reactor process for municipal wastewater treatment, especially analysing the fate of submicron colloidal particles and their influence on membrane fouling. Two operating conditions defined as low and high organic loading rates were tested where the development and fate of the particulate material was characterised analysing the particle size distributions throughout the process. Analysis of the membrane performance showed higher fouling rates for the high-rate conditions. The fraction of colloidal submicron particles was higher in the membrane reactor indicating that fouling by these particles was a dominant contribution to membrane fouling.

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