Long-term study on the impact of temperature on enhanced biological phosphorus and nitrogen removal in membrane bioreactor

N. Sayi-Ucar, M. Sarioglu, G. Insel*, E. U. Cokgor, D. Orhon, M. C.M. van Loosdrecht

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The study involved experimental observation and performance evaluation of a membrane bioreactor system treating municipal wastewater for nutrient removal for a period 500 days, emphasizing the impact of high temperature on enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR). The MBR system was operated at relatively high temperatures (24-41 °C). During the operational period, the total phosphorus (TP) removal gradually increased from 50% up to 95% while the temperature descended from 41 to 24 °C. At high temperatures, anaerobic volatile fatty acid (VFA) uptake occurred with low phosphorus release implying the competition of glycogen accumulating organisms (GAOs) with polyphosphate accumulating organisms (PAOs). Low dissolved oxygen conditions associated with high wastewater temperatures did not appreciable affected nitrification but enhanced nitrogen removal. Dissolved oxygen levels around 1.0 mgO2/L in membrane tank provided additional denitrification capacity of 6-7 mgN/L by activating simultaneous nitrification and denitrification. As a result, nearly complete removal of nitrogen could be achieved in the MBR system, generating a permeate with no appreciable nitrogen content. The gross membrane flux was 43 LMH corresponding to the specific permeability (K) of 413 LMH/bar at 39 °C in the MBR tank. The specific permeability increased by the factor of 43% at 39 °C compared to that of 25 °C during long-term operation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-17
Number of pages10
JournalWater Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


  • EBPR
  • GAO
  • PAO
  • Simultaneous nitrification and denitrification
  • Temperature


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