A pilot study was conducted to test an membrane bioreactor (MBR) process for combined biological and chemical P removal to achieve a very low effluent total phosphorus (TP) concentration of 0.025 mg P/L. With the data from the pilot test, a simulation study was performed to demonstrate that: (1) the pilot system behaviour (effluent quality, MLSS, etc.) can be modelled accurately with an activated sludge model combined with a chemical precipitation model; and (2) with the calibrated model, simulation scenarios can be performed to further understand the pilot MBR process, and provide information for optimizing design and operation when applied at full-scale. Results from the pilot test indicated that the system could achieve very low effluent TP concentration through biological P removal with a limited chemical addition, and chemical addition to remove P to very low level did not affect other biological processes, i.e., organic and nitrogen removal. Simulation studies indicate that the process behaviour can be modelled accurately with an activated sludge model combined with a chemical precipitation model, and the calibrated model can be used to provide information to optimize system design and operation, e.g., chemical addition control under dynamic loading conditions is important for maintaining biological P removal.
Keywords: MBR, nutrient removal, chemical addition, pilot plant modelling, simulation, low effluent TP limit