Concept of Compound Retention Time for Organic Micro Pollutants in Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor with Nanofiltration

  • Jiangjiang Pan

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Organic micropollutants (OMPs) have received more and more attention in recent years due to their potential harmful effects on public health and aquatic ecosystems, and eliminating OMPs in wastewater treatment systems is an important solution to control OMPs wastage. An innovative hybrid process, anaerobic membrane bioreactor with nanofiltration (AnMBR-NF), in which enhanced OMPs removal is possible based on the concept of compound retention time (CRT) through coupling anaerobic biodegradation and NF rejection, is proposed and examined in terms of preliminary feasibility in this study. First, NF membrane screening through sludge water dead-end filtration tests demonstrated that KOCH NF200 (molecular weight cut-off (MWCO) 200 Da, acid/base stable) performed best in organic matter rejection. Then, selected OMPs (ketobrofen and naproxen) in MQ water and a biologically treated wastewater matrix were filtered through NF200 under constant-pressure dead-end mode, with and without stirring, and several methods (contact angle, scanning electronic microscopy, Zeta potential, Fourier transform infra-red spectroscopy) were used to characterize membranes. Results show selected OMPs in MQ could be rejected (about 40%) by a clean NF200 membrane. The main rejection mechanism was initial absorption by the membrane followed by size exclusion (electric charge interaction plays a less important role). The wastewater matrix could enhance the rejection significantly (up to 90%) because effluent organic matter (EfOM) enhanced size exclusion and electric charge interaction through blocking membrane pores and forming a gel layer as well as binding some OMPs through partitioning followed by retention by NF. Third, an anaerobic bioreactor was set up to evaluate the anaerobic biodegradability of selected OMPs. Results showed selected OMPs could be absorbed by sludge and reached equilibrium within one day, and then were consumed by anaerobic microorganism with a half life 9.4 days for ketoprofen and 11.6 days for naproxen. Finally, the CRT for selected OMPs was intensively analyzed under different hydraulic retention time (HRT), sludge retention time (SRT), sludge concentration, feed OMPs concentration, OMPs’ biodegradation rate and NF rejection. Full simulations of an AnMBR-NF for domestic wastewater containing selected OMPs from start-up to steady state showed CRT would be a useful concept for assessing the biodegradation of OMPs.
Date of AwardDec 2011
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Biological, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorGary Amy (Supervisor)

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