Potential of combining mechanical and physicochemical municipal wastewater pre-treatment with direct membrane filtration by Tobias HeyVA SYD,Janne Väänänen, Nicolas Heinen, Jes la Cour Jansen & Karin Jönsson
At a full-scale wastewater treatment plant, raw municipal wastewater from the sand trap outlet was mechanically and physicochemically pre-treated before microfiltration (MF) in a large pilot-scale study. MF was performed using a low transmembrane pressure (0.03 bar) without backflushing for up to 159 h (∼6.6 d). Pre-filtration ensured stable MF operation compared with the direct application of raw wastewater on the membrane. The combination of physicochemical pre-treatment, such as coagulation, flocculation, and microsieving, with MF meets the European and Swedish discharge limits for small- and medium-sized wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). The specific electricity footprint was 0.3–0.4 kWh·m−3, which is an improvement compared to the median footprint of 0.75 kWh·m−3 found in 105 traditional Swedish WWTPs with sizes of 1500–10,000 person equivalents. Furthermore, the biological treatment step can be omitted, and the risk of releasing greenhouse gases was eliminated. The investigated wastewater treatment process required less space than conventional wastewater treatment processes, and more carbon was made available for biogas production.