Document Type : Review Paper
Engineering Department, University College of Applied Sciences, P.O. Box 1415, Gaza, Palestine
Civil Engineering Department, Islamic University of Gaza, P.O. Box 108, Gaza, Palestine
Effluents from municipal wastewater treatment plants become a major contributor to water contamination. Higher quality effluent and the need for wastewater reuse are the key reasons for developing technologies towards improved wastewater treatment (WWT). Membrane bioreactor (MBR), a modern method for municipal wastewater treatment, combines membrane separation and biological treatment. In this article, an overview of MBR, its advantages and disadvantages, configurations, modes of operations, materials, and modules were presented. Membrane fouling issue was covered with a focus on types, sources and forms of fouling. Factors affecting fouling including operational conditions, feed, biomass and membrane characteristics were comprehensively discussed based on the latest research results. The article furtherly highlights recent experimental work conducted to mitigate and control fouling which include chemical cleaning, physical cleaning, biological control, electrical control and membranes and module modification. Challenges and future perspectives for MBR industry were also presented. The article concluded that despite having high capital and operation costs, the widespread of MBR is continuing and is expected to increase year by year, but fouling is the most significant hinder of its large-scale application for WWT. Fouling control, minimization or prevention is a hot research point that still needs further investigation and development.