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Water Science & Technology Vol 65 No 5 pp 954–961 © IWA Publishing 2012 doi:10.2166/wst.2012.942

Effect of low dosages of powdered activated carbon on membrane bioreactor performance

Maxime Remy, Hardy Temmink and Wim Rulkens

Wetsus, P.O. Box 1113, 8900 CC Leeuwarden, The Netherlands E-mail: maxremy@gmail.com
Sub-department of Environmental Technology, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 17, 6700 AA, Wageningen, The Netherlands


Previous research has demonstrated that powdered activated carbon (PAC), when applied at very low dosages and long SRTs, reduces membrane fouling in membrane bioreactors (MBRs). This effect was related to the formation of stronger sludge flocs, which are less sensitive to shear. In this contribution the long-term effect of PAC addition was studied by running two parallel MBRs on sewage. To one of these, PAC was dosed and a lower fouling tendency of the sludge was verified, with a 70% longer sustainable filtration time. Low PAC dosages showed additional advantages with regard to oxygen transfer and dewaterability, which may provide savings on operational costs.

Keywords: filterability; membrane bioreactor; membrane fouling; powdered activated carbon; sludge characteristics

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