This study investigated the performance of an integrated osmotic and microfiltration membrane bioreactor for real sewage employing baffles in the reactor. To study the biofouling development on forward osmosis membranes optical coherence tomography (OCT) technique was employed. On-line monitoring of biofilm growth on a flat sheet cellulose triacetate forward osmosis (CTA-FO) membrane was conducted for 21 days. Further, the process performance was evaluated in terms of water flux, organic and nutrient removal, microbial activity in terms of soluble microbial products (SMP) and extracellular polymeric substance (EPS), and floc size. The measured biofouling layer thickness was in the order sodium chloride (NaCl) > ammonium sulfate (SOA) > potassium dihydrogen phosphate (KH2PO4). Very high organic removal (96.9±0.8 %) and reasonably good nutrient removal efficiency (85.2±1.6 % TN) was achieved. The sludge characteristics and biofouling layer thickness suggest that less EPS and higher floc size were the governing factors for less fouling.
A novel approach was employed to study removal of organic micropollutants (OMPs) in a baffled osmotic membrane bioreactor-microfiltration (OMBR-MF) hybrid system under oxic–anoxic conditions. The performance of OMBR-MF system was examined employing three different draw solutes (DS), and three model OMPs. The highest forward osmosis (FO) membrane rejection was attained with atenolol (100 %) due to its higher molar mass and positive charge. With inorganic DS caffeine (94-100 %) revealed highest removal followed by atenolol (89-96 %) and atrazine (16-40 %) respectively. All three OMPs exhibited higher removal with organic DS as compared to inorganic DS. Significant anoxic removal was observed for atrazine under very different redox conditions with extended anoxic cycle time. This can be linked with possible development of different microbial consortia responsible for diverse enzymes secretion. Overall, the OMBR-MF process showed effective removal of total organic carbon (98%) and nutrients (phosphate 97% and total nitrogen 85%), respectively.
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