Hazardous events in membrane bioreactors – Part 1: Impacts on key operational and bulk water quality parameters

Trang Trinh, Amos Branch, Adam C. Hambly, Guido Carvajal, Heather M. Coleman, Richard M. Stuetz, Jorg E. Drewes, Pierre Le-Clech, Stuart J. Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


In this series of articles, the potential impacts of a number of operational ‘hazardous events’ on membrane bioreactors (MBRs) removal performance were investigated. The hazardous events assessed included salinity shock, 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP) shock, ammonia shock, organic carbon shock, feed starvation, loss of power supply, loss of aeration, complete wash out of biomass, defective fibres, and physical membrane damage. This initial study focuses on the removal of key bulk water quality and operational parameters, i.e. changes in pH, turbidity, chemical oxygen demand (COD), dissolved organic carbon (DOC), biomass concentrations, capillary suction time (CST) and membrane fouling rate. DNP, salinity and organic carbon shock conditions were shown to significantly impact removal of organic matter (in terms of COD and DOC). These findings suggest that changes in COD and DOC concentrations were determined to be effective parameters for monitoring the impacts of these shock load events. Feed starvation significantly impacted biomass concentrations but the overall system performance remained relatively resilient, as it continued to achieve effective COD and DOC removals. The results from physical membrane damage experiment confirm that turbidity is an effective indicator for online monitoring of physical membrane damage. The results of this study can assist with validation of MBR processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-503
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Early online date11 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jan 2016


  • Membrane treatment process validation
  • Process performance
  • Conventional parameters
  • Membrane treatment failure
  • Shock loads


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