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The performance of a membrane bioreactor (MBR) was compared to that of a conventional activated sludge (CAS) process aiming to identify the best technological option for a municipal sewage treatment plant (STP). The MBR system was fed by the diluted sewage coming from the main municipal sewer network, which contained an averagely lower concentration of organics, inorganics and biological pollutants. While the CAS system was fed by a concentrated sewage coming from household septic tanks, contained averagely high concentration of organics, inorganics and biological pollutants. CAS showed a higher removal amount of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), total suspended solids (TSS), volatile suspended solids (VSS), Fat-Oil-Grease (FOG), nitrogen, phosphorous, helminths ova (HO), and pathogenic bacteria compared to that of the MBR. Nevertheless, the removal efficiencies of nitrogen, HO and pathogenic bacteria in the case of CAS were lower than that of MBR due to the high concentration of those parameters in the influent fed to CAS. However, both the efficiency and the amount of removal for phosphorous in the case of CAS was quite higher than that of MBR due to extended aeration in CAS. The pathogenic bacteria and HO were almost completely removed by the MBR, whereas the effluent of the CAS system required additional disinfection for the reduction of pathogens and HO. In terms of biological efficiency and influent flexibility, both the systems were satisfying the national standards. Overall, the data suggested that CAS possessed a higher capacity of treating concentrated sewage for removing all pollutants to satisfactory limits except complete removal of pathogenic bacteria and HO. It was obvious that MBR possessed a membrane barrier to retain the pathogens and HO; therefore, they could be removed up to very low levels. However, further investigation is necessary to verify the MBR performance using the same concentrated sewage as that of the CAS.

Article Details

Author Biography

Abdullah Al-Mamun, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman

Current Position  Assistant Professor, Dept. of Civil and Archi. Engineering, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman, Sep 2012 to Present
How to Cite
Al-Mamun, A. (2020). Biological efficiency and control of a membrane bioreactor and conventional activated sludge process for treating municipal wastewater. Journal of Agricultural and Marine Sciences [JAMS], 26(1), 27–36.


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