Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor (AnMBR) for Sustainable Wastewater Treatment

POY19 ESTCP logo

ESTCP 2019 Project of the Year Award for Environmental Restoration

The Department of Defense (DoD) currently uses aerobic treatment processes, such as activated sludge and oxidation ponds, to treat domestic wastewater generated at DoD facilities. These aerobic treatment processes have a number of undesirable characteristics and anaerobic treatment processes have been shown to have multiple benefits an alternative.

Dr. Patrick Evans from CDM Smith (now retired) and his team led an ESTCP funded project that demonstrated and validated the Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor (AnMBR) technology for domestic wastewater treatment. Two pilot systems were demonstrated that used different methods of ultrafiltration (UF) membrane flux maintenance: gas sparging and granulated activated carbon (GAC)-fluidized.

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Study results have shown that the GAC-fluidized AnMBR system achieved better energy efficiency and effluent quality at lower hydraulic residence times than the gas-sparged AnMBR system. The demonstration also identified that the integration of alternative methods for sulfide removal alongside bioenergy recovery is necessary for developing an AnMBR treatment process that is more sustainable than a conventional treatment approach.

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It was determined from this demonstration that further research into cost-effective and sustainable technologies for sulfide, phosphorus, and nitrogen removal is needed. Currently, the use of regenerable clinoptilolite downstream of an AnMBR for ammonia removal and brine regeneration is being evaluated under another ESTCP project.

For this significant work, Dr. Evans and his team received the 2019 ESTCP Project-of-the-Year Award for Environmental Restoration for their project titled Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor (AnMBR) for Sustainable Wastewater Treatment.

Project Team:

  • Patrick Evans – CDM Smith (Retired)
  • Jaeho Bae – Inha University
  • Andrew Brower – CDM Smith
  • Alexandra Doody – CDM Smith
  • Kathryn Guy – U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC)/Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL)
  • Melissa Harclerode – CDM Smith
  • Po-Heng (Henry) Lee – The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • Kahao Lim – Kansas State University
  • Perry McCarty – Stanford University
  • Martin Page – U.S. Army E Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC)/Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL)
  • Prathap Parameswaran – Kansas State University
  • Chungheon Shin – Inha University
  • Amy Tan – The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • Paloma Vila – CDM Smith
ER ESTCP POY19 award

Photo by Ben Zweig

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