Investigation of critical sludge characteristics for membrane fouling in a submerged membrane bioreactor: Role of soluble microbial products and extracted extracellular polymeric substances

Yongsun Jang, Han Shin Kim, So Young Ham, Jeong Hoon Park, Hee Deung Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Membrane bioreactors (MBRs) are considered a promising tool for resource recovery in wastewater treatment. Nevertheless, membrane fouling is an inevitable phenomenon that deteriorates the MBR performance. Although many studies have attempted to elucidate the effect of sludge characteristics on MBR fouling, they posed certain limitations. Most of the previous studies focused on the initial sludge or employ the results of short-term batch tests without long-term transmembrane pressure (TMP) profiles in the interpretation of fouling behaviors. This study was conducted considering these limitations to determine the sludge characteristics most closely related to long-term TMP profiles and to identify their role in fouling behaviors. In long-term TMP profiles, critical time (tc; time to TMP jump) and fouling rates (the increase in the TMP slope) were used as fouling indexes, which were used to correlate with average values of sludge characteristics before and after experiments. According to the results, the concentration of the total soluble microbial product (SMP) and extracted extracellular polymeric substance (eEPS) in sludge significantly increased by 1.9 times and up to 28 times after experiment. The increase in the SMP and eEPS caused early TMP jumps and resulted in low-fouling rates by increasing particle size. Owing to the increase in the SMP and eEPS concentration, the origin of fouling potential was shifted from suspended solids to colloids and soluble materials. Fouling resistance caused by soluble material increased by up to 11.38 times.

Original languageEnglish
Article number129879
JournalChemosphere
Volume271
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 May

Keywords

  • Extracellular polymeric substance
  • Membrane bioreactor
  • Membrane fouling
  • Soluble microbial product

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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