A study has been carried out to define the effect of drastic temperature changes on the performance of lab-scale hollow-fibre MBR in treating municipal wastewater at a flux of 10 L m−2 h−1 (LMH). The objectives of the study were to estimate the activated sludge properties, the removal efficiencies of COD and NH3-N and the membrane fouling tendency under critical conditions of drastic temperature changes (23, 33, 42 & 33 °C) and MLSS concentration ranged between 6,382 and 8,680 mg/L. The study exhibited that the biomass reduction, the low sludge settleability and the supernatant turbidity were results of temperature increase. The temperature increase led to increase in SMP carbohydrate and protein, and to decrease in EPS carbohydrate and protein. The BRE of COD dropped from 80% at 23 °C to 47% at 42 °C, while the FRE was relatively constant at about 90%. Both removal efficiencies of NH3-N trended from about 100% at 33 °C to less than 50% at 42 °C. TMP and BWP ascended critically with temperature increase up to 336 and 304 mbar respectively by the end of the experiment. The values of suspended solids (SS) and the turbidity in the final effluent were negligible. The DO in the mixed liquor was varying with temperature change, while the pH was within the range of 6.7–8.3.
Keywords: activated sludge, COD removal, hollow fibre, membrane bioreactor, NH3-N removal, temperature