Removal and recovery of nutrients by ion exchange from high rate membrane bio-reactor (MBR) effluent

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Journal Article
Desalination, 2011, 275 (1-3), pp. 197 - 202
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In this study a membrane bioreactor (MBR) with ion-exchange as post-treatment was investigated for organic removal and nutrient recovery. The MBR was operated at a short HRT of 4h in order to mainly remove organic carbon. This was followed by an ion-exchange process to remove and later recover the nitrogen and phosphorus from the MBR effluent. The increase in membrane resistance was reduced by 90% (from 0.061 to 0.006m-1d-1) when the air scouring rate was increased from 0.5 to 1.5m3/m2membrane areah. The organic removal rate in terms of DOC was 85-90%. The bio-polymer in the molecular weight range of 24,500Da was retained by the membrane of the MBR while humic type substances and lower molecular organic matter (molecular weight of 360-60Da) were not effectively removed by the membrane. The ion-exchange process effectively removed the nutrients from the effluent of the MBR. The retention of PO43- and NO3- by the two ion-exchange columns in series was 85% and 95% respectively. Over 95-98% phosphate and nitrate recovery was obtained during regeneration of columns with 1% NaCl of 20 bed volumes. This integrated process can remove pollutants and at the same time recover nutrients and thus open a new source for nitrogen and phosphorous. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
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