Publication Details

Nguyen, L., Hai, F. Ibney., Kang, J., Price, W. E. & Nghiem, L. D. (2013). Removal of emerging trace organic contaminants by MBR-based hybrid treatment processes. International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation, 85 (November), 474-482.


The aim of this study was to demonstrate the complementarity of combining membrane bioreactor (MBR) treatment with UV oxidation or high pressure membrane filtration processes such as nanofiltration (NF) or reverse osmosis (RO) for the removal of trace organic contaminants (TrOC). The results suggest that the removal mechanisms of TrOC by either UV oxidation or NF/RO membrane filtration differ significantly from those of an MBR system. Thus, they can complement MBR treatment very well to significantly improve the removal of TrOC. MBR treatment can effectively remove hydrophobic and readily biodegradable hydrophilic TrOC. The remaining hydrophilic and biologically persistent TrOC were shown to be effectively removed by either UV oxidation or NF/RO membrane filtration. The combination of MBR with UV oxidation or NF/RO membrane filtration resulted in a removal ranging from 85% to complete removal (or removal to below the analytical detection limit) of all 22 TrOC selected in this study. In particular, it is noteworthy that although MBR treatment and direct UV oxidation separately achieved low removal of carbamazepine (a widely reported problematic compound), the combination of these two processes resulted in more than 96% removal.



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