Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 1170–1180 | Cite as

Investigating membrane fouling associated with GAC fluidization on membrane with effluent from anaerobic fluidized bed bioreactor in domestic wastewater treatment

  • Muhammad Aslam
  • Jeonghwan KimEmail author
Water Industry: Water-Energy-Health Nexus


Effect of mechanical scouring driven by granular activated carbon (GAC) fluidization on membrane fouling was investigated using a laboratory-scaled, fluidized membrane reactor filtering the effluent from anaerobic fluidized bed bioreactor (AFBR) in domestic wastewater treatment. The GAC particles were fluidized by recirculating a bulk solution only through the membrane reactor to control membrane fouling. The membrane fouling was compared with two different feed solutions, effluent taken from a pilot-scaled, AFBR treating domestic wastewater and its filtrate through 0.1-μm membrane pore size. The GAC fluidization driven by bulk recirculation through the membrane reactor was very effective to reduce membrane fouling. Membrane scouring under GAC fluidization decreased reversible fouling resistance effectively. Fouling mitigation was more pronounced with bigger GAC particles than smaller ones as fluidized media. Regardless of the fluidized GAC sizes, however, there was limited effect on controlling irreversible fouling caused by colloidal materials which is smaller than 0.1 μm. In addition, the deposit of GAC particles that ranged from 180 to 500 μm in size on membrane surface was very significant and accelerated fouling rate. Biopolymers rejected by the membranes were thought to play a role as binding these small GAC particles on membrane surface strongly.


Anaerobic fluidized membrane bioreactor Membrane fouling Mechanical scouring Granular activated carbon Membrane bioreactor 



This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning (2017R1A2B4007804).

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental EngineeringInha UniversityIncheonRepublic of Korea

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