Troubleshooting at a highly loaded MBR water treatment plant

Client: Logisticon Water Treatment
Question: A very highly loaded MBR bioreactor (average influent concentrations COD 15.000 mg/L and ammonium 4.000 mg-N/L) showed Nitrite accumulation (up to 1.000 mg/L) and didn’t function properly. The question was to find the underlying problems and advise on the optimization of the process in order to increase the stability of the plant.
Work done: A desk-study was done to identify probable causes of the problems. Visits to the site were made for additional monitoring and testing of the plant. Advisory work was done, in which measures proposed to improve and optimize.
Results: From the executed work it became apparent that what the major causes of the malfunctioning reactor were: insufficient aeration for nitrification, insufficient carbon source for denitrification, sub-optimal aerobic and anaerobic phases and an excess of suspended solids. These parameters were altered so that the plant would run effeciently again: removal efficiencies of >92% COD and >99% ammonium were achieved.

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