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Superior Removal of Disinfection Byproduct Precursors and Pharmaceuticals from Wastewater in a Staged Anaerobic Fluidized Membrane Bioreactor Compared to Activated Sludge

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journal contribution
posted on 11.11.2014, 00:00 by Daniel L. McCurry, Samantha E. Bear, Jaeho Bae, David L. Sedlak, Perry L. McCarty, William A. Mitch
A recently developed, staged anaerobic fluidized membrane bioreactor (SAF-MBR) system has demonstrated performance comparable to that of conventional activated sludge systems at similar hydraulic residence times. The low biosolid generation rate, small footprint, and energy-positive potential (from captured methane) suggest the possible advantages of using the SAF-MBR upstream of advanced treatment for decentralized water reuse. Previous research conducted on laboratory-scale systems indicated that the SAF-MBR system is capable of removing pharmaceutical compounds. The purpose of this study was to compare the removals of disinfection byproduct precursors as well as pharmaceuticals by parallel pilot-scale SAF-MBR and full-scale aerobic systems treating municipal wastewater. Significantly better removals of antivirals (acyclovir and lamivudine), β-blockers (atenolol, metoprolol, and propranolol), a β-blocker aerobic biotransformation product (metoprolol acid), an anticonvulsant (carbamazepine), antibiotics (sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim), N-nitrosomorpholine, and the precursors of N-nitrosodimethylamine were obtained by the SAF-MBR system. Concentrations of trihalomethane precursors were lower in the SAF-MBR effluent in two of the three samplings.