Aquatech introduces operator-friendly enhanced membrane bioreactor

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Aquatech, a global leader in water and wastewater technologies for the industrial and infrastructure markets, has developed Aqua-EMBR enhanced membrane bioreactor for wastewater treatment.

The Aqua-EMBR system consists of an activated biosolids extended aeration biological treatment process and an ultrafiltration (UF) membrane system for the separation of activated biosolid from treated effluent. Aqua-EMBR is an external MBR system; the UF membrane is positioned outside the bioreactor tank, rather than submerged in the bioreactor tank or in the downstream membrane tank.

The UF membrane modules are arranged vertically and aerated continuously at the bottom. Mixed liquor is transported via “air lift pump” action through the module, while the membrane feed/recirculation pump is only used to overcome the hydraulic losses and maintain a relatively constant flow of mixed liquor through the membrane. This design reduces much of the feed pumping energy requirement needed to maintain high crossflow velocity.

Permeate flow, which is inside-out from the membrane modules, is collected by a permeate pump.

Because no membrane components are submerged in the biological mixed liquor, the biological and membrane systems can be operated and optimized independently. The membrane operation is automatically controlled.

With its tight membrane pore size (nominal/maximum 30 nm/50 nm), Aqua-EMBR produces high effluent quality – an important factor for reuse purposes and future regulations.

Applications for Aqua-EMBR include wastewater treatment or reclamation in new industrial and municipal wastewater treatment plants or in existing plants undergoing upgrades.

The Aqua-EMBR system has no membrane tank, so it can be built quickly. Installed as one or more skids on a flat concrete slab, the system eliminates the need for complex civil engineering and lowers the risk for contractors due to construction delays caused by weather conditions, environmental or other local uncertainties.

In addition, the Aqua-EMBR system offers an operator-friendly working environment. Operators do not see, smell or come in contact with the biosolids, nor do they work on top of open membrane tanks where air could contain harmful aerosols. Should maintenance be required, the membrane modules can be removed or replaced without any contact with the biosolids.

Another significant benefit is the system’s high operating flux – approximately 50 percent higher than submerged systems. Because 50 percent less surface area of membrane is needed per unit volume of permeate production, the low membrane cost per unit volume filtrate means savings in capital and operating costs. Maintenance costs, such as labor and chemicals, are also reduced.

“Aqua-EMBR enhances Aquatech’s robust portfolio of wastewater treatment solutions,” says director of wastewater treatment applications Arun Mittal. “Scarce freshwater resources and rapidly deteriorating quality of water resources due to discharge of untreated or noncompliant treated wastewater are compelling reasons for industries to adopt new and advanced technologies for treating their effluent.

“Many industries require huge quantities of water in their operations, potentially releasing large quantities of wastewater that can create pollution problems unless properly treated. Since environmental regulations are becoming stricter every day, it is sensible to treat wastewater not only to meet environmental norms for discharge, but also to treat and make the wastewater suitable for reuse as process water in the same industry.”

For information about Aquatech’s water and wastewater treatment solutions, visit

About Aquatech
Aquatech is a global leader in water purification technology for industrial and infrastructure markets with a focus on desalination, water reuse, and zero liquid discharge. For more information, visit


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