MBR - the highest effluent quality in wastewater treatment


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Watercore MBRs (membrane bioreactors) produce a high-quality effluent that can be discharged to river, ocean, or environmentally sensitive areas, but it can also be recycled for recreational field irrigation, agriculture, artificial waterfalls and recreational pond makeup, nonpotable domestic use, cooling tower makeup, vehicle washing, fire protection, dust control, construction, etc.

1. MBR - membrane bioreactors : the best results from that a wastewater treatment plant can offer

MBBR wastewater treatment plant

A membrane bioreactor is an activated sludge system in which the secondary clarifyer is replaced with a set of microfiltration or ultrafiltration membranes. This technology has been in the market since 1969 and is now widely used in all-size applications.

MBRs are characterised by:

  • Small footprint
  • Low concern about the reclaimed water quality due to complete suspended solids capture across the membrane
  • Lower disinfection dose due to the low turbidity effluent

The use of MBR technology offers an opportunity to implement some of the objectives of the "Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling: Managing Health and Environmental Risk" in a controlled and responsible framework.

Remote monitoring and logging of the most critical process parameters will guarantee a safe operational environment for end-users, underground water bodies and rest of stakeholders

2. main benefits obtained from MBR membrane bioreactors

Watercore MBR membrane bioreactor data sheet

The main benefits of installing a Watercore MBR membrane bioreactor are

  • Excellent effluent quality allows water recycling or direct discharge in sensitive environments
  • Small footprint (50% approx.) compared with other activated sludge processes
  • Low disinfection doses are required as most bacteria and viruses (>98%) are retained by the membrane

3. typical effluent quality obtained from MBR wastewater treatment plants

  • Suspended Solids (TSS) < 2 mg/L
  • Turbidity < 1 NTU
  • COD < 30 mg/L
  • BOD < 3 mg/L
  • Nitrogen as NH4-N < 1 mg/L
  • TN < 5 mg/L
  • TP < 1 mg/L
  • Faecal coliforms < 100 (count in 100 mL)

4. main components of a watercore MBR membrane bioreactor

  • Equalization Tank: Flow equalization is a crucial step to secure efficient use of the entire system without causing hydraulic or organic overloads. It is sized on a project basis to buffer peak flows.


  • Aeration Tank: where various microorganisms cooperate to oxidize biodegradable organics and nitrogen. Approximately 30% to 60% of the carbons in the biodegradable organics are assimilated to live microorganisms while the rest of them are oxidized to CO2. Organic and inorganic nitrogen are also oxidized to nitrate.


  • Anoxic tank: removal of nitrogen is enhanced when molecular oxygen (O2) is not present for bacterial respiration and combined oxygen contained in nitrate (NO3 -N) is used as an alternative oxygen source. Molecular nitrogen (N2) is then released.


  • Microfiltration Membrane: with a typical pore size of 0.4 microns, the filtration membrane provides a physical barrier to organic and inorganic matter suspended in the water as well as bacteria and viruses.

5. optional components of a watercore MBR membrane bioreactor

  • Advanced phosphorus removal: more than 80% of the total incoming phosphorus is typically removed by the standard MBR process. When more stringent removal rates are required, alum and ferric coagulants can reduce the phosphorus concentration in effluent down to 0.04 mg/L


  • Advanced non-biodegradable COD removal: when influent contains high levels of non-biodegradable COD, PAC can be added to the aeration tank.


  • Effluent disinfection (post-treatment): typical MBR virus and bacteria removal is >98%. Additional effluent disinfection can be achieved by chlorination and/or UV.

6. critical plc-controlled parameter in any watercore MBR membrane bioreactor

  • Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD): two sensors, located in the influent and effluent sides, compare and log COD values and plant efficiency.


  • Dissolved Oxygen (DO): required for biodegradation of BOD and nitrogen, it also represents a 30% of the overall power consumption.


  • Oxidation-reduction potential (ORP): used to monitor and control anoxic and anaerobic conditions.


  • PH: critical for biological growth

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