A Zenon ZenoGem® pilot MBR (membrane bioreactor) was studied using submerged Zee Weed® MF (microfiltration) membranes in activated sludge, treating effluent from a chicken processing factory. The performance of the MBR was monitored with regard to the final permeate quality, pre-treatment requirements and potential re-use opportunities. The paper assesses the performance and compares the advantages and disadvantages of the process together with likely costs. The influent had a COD between 2,000 - 4,500 mg/1, BOD average 1853 mg/1, with high SS (suspended solids) and high ammonia content. The COD, BOD, ammonia and phosphate removal efficiencies were higher than 92%, 99%, 95% and 98% respectively. Phosphate removal/assimilation was greater than expected; this was thought to be due to the acclimatisation of the biomass to high phosphate levels, around 50 mg/1, in the chicken blood in the influent. The effluent was of a high enough quality to discharge directly to river making this process competitive in price with other conventional processes. The effluent was unsuitable for reuse within the factory.

Membrane bioreactor; wastewater treatment; activated sludge, chicken processing effluent.

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