A modeling study of fouling development in membrane bioreactors for wastewater treatment

Shuang Liang, Lianfa Song, Guihe Tao, Kiran Arun Kekre, Harry Seah

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28 Scopus citations


Membrane fouling is a primary concern in membrane bioreactors (MBRs) in wastewater treatment because it strongly affects both system stability and economic feasibility. A mathematical model was developed in this study for membrane fouling in submerged MBR systems for wastewater treatment, in which both reversible and irreversible fouling were quantified. While mixed liquor suspended solids are the major components of the reversible fouling layer, dissolved organic matter is thought to be the key foulant, in particular, responsible for the long-term irreversible fouling of the filtration unit. The model was calibrated (parameter identification) with a set of operational data from a pilot MBR and then verified with other independent operational data from the MBR. The good agreement between theoretical predictions and operational data demonstrates that the outlined modeling concept can be successfully applied to describe membrane fouling in submerged MBR systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)857-863
Number of pages7
JournalWater Environment Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2006


  • Dissolved organic matter
  • Fouling
  • Irreversible fouling
  • Membrane bioreactor
  • Model simulation
  • Reversible fouling


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