This study evaluated the effects of sludge retention time (SRT) on the membrane filtration performance of an anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) fed lipid-rich synthetic dairy wastewater. The membrane filtration performance was evaluated in two AnMBR systems operated at two different SRTs, i.e., 20 and 40 days. For the AnMBR operated at 40 days, SRT exhibited worse membrane filtration performance characterized by operational transmembrane pressures (TMP) exceeding the maximum allowed value and high total resistances to filtration (Rtotal). The sludge in the two reactors evaluated at the different SRTs showed similar sludge filterability properties. However, the sludge in the reactor operated at 40 days SRT was characterized by exhibiting the highest concentrations of: (i) total suspended solids (TSS), (ii) small-sized particles, (iii) extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), (iv) soluble microbial products (SMP), (v) fats, oils and grease (FOG), and (vi) long-chain fatty acids (LCFA). The cake layer resistance was the major contributor to the overall resistance to filtration. The high TSS concentration observed in the AnMBR systems apparently contributed to a less permeable cake layer introducing a negative effect on the membrane filtration performance.
- anaerobic membrane bioreactor
- dairy wastewater
- membrane fouling
- sludge retention time
- physicochemical characteristics