Evaluation of micropollutant removal and fouling reduction in a hybrid moving bed biofilm reactor-membrane bioreactor system
A hybrid moving bed biofilm reactor-membrane bioreactor (MBBR-MBR) system and a conventional membrane bioreactor (CMBR) were compared in terms of micropollutant removal efficiency and membrane fouling propensity. The results show that the hybrid MBBR-MBR system could effectively remove most of the selected micropollutants. By contrast, the CMBR system showed lower removals of ketoprofen, carbamazepine, primidone, bisphenol A and estriol by 16.2%, 30.1%, 31.9%, 34.5%, and 39.9%, respectively. Mass balance calculations suggest that biological degradation was the primary removal mechanism in the MBBR-MBR system. During operation, the MBBR-MBR system exhibited significantly slower fouling development as compared to the CMBR system, which could be ascribed to the wide disparity in the soluble microbial products (SMP) levels between MBBR-MBR (4.02-6.32. mg/L) and CMBR (21.78 and 33.04. mg/L). It is evident that adding an MBBR process prior to MBR treatment can not only enhance micropollutant elimination but also mitigate membrane fouling.