A pilot-scale dual-stage membrane bioreactor (dsMBR) incorporating two ultra-filtration (UF) side-stream membrane modules was designed, constructed, operated and evaluated on-site for treating high-strength textile effluent. The effluent stream was characterised by a COD range of between 45 to 2,820 mg/L and an average BOD of 192.5 mg/L. The dsMBR achieved an average COD reduction of 75% with a maximum of 97% over the 9 month test period. The COD concentration obtained after dsMBR treatment averaged at 190 mg/L, which was well within the discharge standard. The average reduction in turbidity and TSS were 94% and 19.6%, respectively, during the UF-MBR stage of the system. Subsequent treatment of the UF-permeate with nanofiltration (NF) and reverse osmosis (RO) removed both the residual colour and remaining salt. A consistent reduction in the color of the incoming effluent was evident. The ADMI was reduced from an average of 659 to ∼20, a lower ADMI and colour compared to the potable water. An average conductivity rejection of 91% was achieved with conductivity being reduced from an average of 7,700 to 693 μS/cm and the TDS reduced from an average of 5,700 to 473 mg/L, which facilitated an average TDS rejection of 92%.
Keywords: chemical oxygen demand, membrane bioreactor, nanofiltration, reverse osmosis, textile effluent, ultra-filtration, wastewater treatment