Advanced analysis of membrane-bioreactor performance with aerobic-anoxic cycling

D. G.V. De Silva, V. Urbain, D. H. Abeysinghe, B. E. Rittmann

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Mathematical modeling and intensive chemical analysis are used to quantify the relationships among the heterotrophic bacteria, autotrophic bacteria, and key inorganic (NH4+-N and NO3--N) and organic (COD) compounds of municipal wastewater treated in a pilot-scale membrane bioreactor (MBR) operated with aerobic-anoxic cycles. Key features of the model for MBR are no biomass in the effluent, partial removal of biomass-associated products by the membrane, and D.O. cycling with 9 mg/L during aeration period and 0.5 mg/L for the anoxic period. The model explains the key trends in the cyclic data: NH4+-N is consumed only during aerobic periods and rises steadily during anoxic period; NO3--N is produced only during aerobic periods, but declines in anoxic periods; The soluble COD in treated water mainly consists of BAP and is relatively constant through the cycle. Advantages of introducing an anoxic cycle to the continuous-flow MBR process are reduction of total effluent nitrogen, oxygen consumption, and sludge production as a consequence of denitrification. On the other hand, the anoxic period causes an increase in the average effluent NH4+-N.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-512
Number of pages8
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number4-5 -5 pt 4
StatePublished - Dec 2 1998
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the 1998 19th Biennial Conference of the International Association on Water Quality. Part 1 (of 9) - Vancouver, Can
Duration: Jun 21 1998Jun 26 1998


  • Activated sludge
  • Denitrification
  • Membrane bioreactor
  • Modeling
  • Nitrification
  • Soluble microbial products (SMP)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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