Biological black water treatment combined with membrane separation

E.M. van Voorthuizen, A. Zwijnenburg, Walterus Gijsbertus Joseph van der Meer, Hardy Temmink

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Separate treatment of black (toilet) water offers the possibility to recover energy and nutrients. In this study three combinations of biological treatment and membrane filtration were compared for their biological and membrane performance and nutrient conservation: a UASB followed by effluent membrane filtration, an anaerobic MBR and an aerobic MBR. Methane production in the anaerobic systems was lower than expected. Sludge production was highest in the aerobic MBR, followed by the anaerobic MBR and the UASB-membrane system. The level of nutrient conservation in the effluent was high in all three treatment systems, which is beneficial for their recovery from the effluent. Membrane treatment guaranteed an effluent which is free of suspended and colloidal matter. However, the concentration of soluble COD in the effluent still was relatively high and this may seriously hamper subsequent nutrient recovery by physical–chemical processes. The membrane filtration behaviour of the three systems was very different, and seemed to be dominated by the concentration of colloidals in the membrane feed. In general, membrane fouling was the lowest in the aerobic MBR, followed by the membranes used for UASB effluent filtration and the anaerobic MBR.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)4334-4340
JournalWater research
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Nutrient recovery
  • IR-79109
  • Black water
  • METIS-258139
  • Anaerobic
  • Membrane filtration
  • MBR
  • Aerobic

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