Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) for VOC Emission Reduction and Wastewater Reuse in the Chemical Manufacturing Industry

Presented by: Kyungnan Min, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

The objective of this research is to evaluate the performance of the membrane bioreactor (MBR) in treating waste water for reuse and reducing volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions both associated with the chemical manufacturing process. Due to the EPA's proposed implementation of maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standards for hazardous air pollutants (HAP) and current regulations under the clean air act amendments, the chemical manufacturing industry is forced to investigate new technologies for decreasing VOC emissions.

The capabilities of the MBR in this research were tested by examining the effects of varying the aeration rate, the COD loading rate, the mixed liquor suspended solids (MLSS) concentration and adding powdered activated carbon (PAC) on VOC emissions. Throughout the experiment, variations in microbial characteristics, MLSS characteristics, membrane flux and soluble organic compound concentrations within the reactors were observed.

It was concluded from this research that the membrane bioreactor is a reliable method of treating wastewater containing different VOCs and using MBR would be a viable alternative for the chemical manufacturing industry. Increasing the MLSS and providing a longer solids retention time were discovered to increase VOC biodegradation and to discourage VOC volatilization.