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Title:
METHOD OF CONDITIONING A MIXED LIQUOR CONTAINING NONIONIC POLYSACCHARIDES AND/OR NONIONIC ORGANIC MOLECULES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2009/134996
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A method of conditioning a membrane biological reactor mixed liquor containing one or more nonionic polysaccharides and/or one or more organic molecules is disclosed. The method comprises: a) selecting one or more anionic polymers, b) adding a composition containing one or more water soluble anionic polymers selected from step (2) to the mixed liquor, c) adding one or more water soluble amphoteric cationic or zwitteronic polymers, or combination thereof to the mixed liquor after performing step (b).

Inventors:
MUSALE, Deepak, A. (3240 Haverhill Drive, Aurora, IL, 60502, US)
COLLINS, John, H. (389 Meadowlark Road, Bloomingdale, IL, 60108, US)
Application Number:
US2009/042300
Publication Date:
November 05, 2009
Filing Date:
April 30, 2009
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
NALCO COMPANY (1601 W. Diehl Road, Naperville, IL, 60563-1198, US)
MUSALE, Deepak, A. (3240 Haverhill Drive, Aurora, IL, 60502, US)
COLLINS, John, H. (389 Meadowlark Road, Bloomingdale, IL, 60108, US)
International Classes:
B01D41/00; B01D61/02
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CARLSEN, Benjamin, E. et al. (Nalco Company, 1601 W. Diehl RoadNaperville, IL, 60563-1198, US)
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Claims:

CLAIMS

We claim:

L A method of conditioning a membrane biological reactor mixed liquor containing one or more nonionic polysaccharides and/or one or more organic molecules that are nonionic comprising: a. selecting one or more anionic polymers that have the ability to complex or associate with one or more nonionic polysaccharides and/or one or more organic molecules that are nonionic ; b. adding a composition containing one or more water soluble anionic polymers selected from step (a) to the mixed liquor; and c. adding one or more water soluble amphoteric, cationic or zwitterionic polymers, or combination thereof to the mixed liquor after performing step b. 2. The method of claim 1 wherein said anionic polymer is polygalactαronic acid

3. The method of claim 1 wherein said amphoteric polymer is a DMAE A. MCQ -Acrylic acid copolymer with net positive charge.

4. The method of claim 1 wherein the amount of anionic polymers added to the mixed liquor is from about 10 ppm to about 200 ppm based upon active solids. 5. The method of claim 1 wherein 1000 ppm as active solids of amphoteric polymer is added to the mixed liquor, wherein said amphoteric polymer is DMAEA.MCQ (70 mole%)-Acrylic acid (30 mole%) copolymer with net positive charge

6. The method of claim 1 further comprising purifying the conditioned mixed liquor by further processing the mixed liquor through one or more membranes selected from the group consisting of: ultrafiltration membranes; microfiltration membranes; nanofiltration membranes; reverse osmosis membranes; and a combination thereof.

7. The method of claim 1 , wherein the amphoteric polymers are selected from the group consisting of: acrylic acid/DMAEA-MCQ copolymer; DADMAC/acrylic acid copolymer; DADMAC/acrylic acid/acrylamide terpolymer; and a combination thereof. 8. The method of claim 1, wherein the amphoteric polymers have a molecular weight from about 5,000 daltons to about 2,000,000 daltons.

9. The method of claim 1, wherein the amphoteric polymers have a molecular weight from about 1,000,000 daltons to about 2,000,000 daltons.

10. The method of claim 1, wherein the amphoteric polymers have a cationic charge equivalent to anionic charge equivalent ratio of about 0.2:9.8 to about 9.8:0.2.

11. The method of claim 1, wherein the amphoteric polymers are a 70%/30% blend of DMAEA.MCQ and acrylic acid. 12. The method of claim 1, wherein the cationic polymers are copolymers of acrylamide and one or more cationic monomers selected from the group consisting of: diallyldimemylammonium chloride; dimethylaminoethylacrylate methyl chloride quaternary salt; dimethylaminoethylmethacrylate methyl chloride quaternary salt; and dimethylaminoethylacrylate benzyl chloride quaternary salt. 13. The method of claim 1 , wherein the cationic polymer has a cationic charge of at least about 5 mole percent.

14. The method of claim 1, wherein the cationic polymer has a cationic charge of 100 mole percent.

15. The method of claim 1, wherein the cationic polymer has a molecular weight from about 2,000,000 daltons to about 5,000,000 daltons.

16. The method of claim 1, wherein the cationic polymer is selected from the group consisting of: polydiallyldimethylammonium chloride; polyethyleneimine; polyepiamine; polyepiamine crosslinked with ammonia or ethylenediamine; condensation polymer of ethylenedichloride and ammonia; condensation polymer of triethanolamine and tall oil fatty acid; poly(dimethylaminoethylmethacrylate sulfuric acid salt); and poly(dimethylaminoethylacrylate methyl chloride quaternary salt).

17. The method of claim 1 , wherein the amphoteric polymer is selected from dimethylarninoethyl acrylate methyl chloride quaternary salt/acrylic acid copolymer; diallyldimethylammonium chloride/acrylic acid copolymer; dimethylaminoethyl acrylate methyl chloride saltyN,N-dimethyl-N-methacrylamidopropyl-N-(3-sulfopropyl)- ammonium betaine copolymer, acrylic acid/NjN-dimethyl-N-methacrylamidopropyl-N- (3-sulfopropyl)-ammoniumbetaine copolymer; and DMAEA-MCQ/Acrylic acid/N,N~ dimethyl-N-methacrylamidopropyl-N-(3-sulfopropyl)-ammonium betaine terpolymer.

18. The method of claim 1, wherein the zwitterionic polymers are selected from the group consisting of : N, N-dimethyl-N-(2-acryloyloxyethyl)-N-(3 -sulfopropyl) ammonium betaine; copolymer of acrylamide and N 5 N-dimethyl-N-(2-acryloyloxyethyl)-N-(3- sulfopropyl) ammonium betaine; and terpolymer of acrylamide, N-vinyl-2-pyrrolidone, and l-(3-sulfopropyl)-2-vinylpyridinium betaine.

19. The method of claim 1, wherein the zwitterionic polymer is composed of about 1 to about 99 mole percent of N,N-dimethyl-N-methacrylamidopropyl-N-(3-sulfopropyl)- ammonium betaine and about 99 to about 1 mole percent of one or more nonionic monomers. 20. The method of claim 1 , wherein the zwitterionic polymer has a molecular weight from about 5,000 daltons to about 2,000,000 daltons.

21. The method of claim 1 wherein the anionic polymer has a molecular weight from about 1,000, daltons to about 2,000,000 daltons.

22. The method of claim 1, wherein the association between anionic polymers and a non- ionic polysaccharides in the mixed liquor is through H-bonding.

23. The method of claim 1, wherein the anionic polymers are selected from the group consisting of: glucuronic acid, mannuronic acid, pyruvic acid, alginic acid, salts thereof, and combination thereof.

24. The method of claim 1, wherein the non-ionic polysaccharides are selected from the group consisting of: rhamnose, pyranose, galactose, mannose, dextrans, glucans, and a combination thereof.

25. The method of claim 1, wherein the non-ionic organic molecules from mixed liquor that are targeted for association by the anionic polymers are selected from the group consisting of: amines, alcohols, glycerols, glycols, and a combination thereof. 26. The method of claim 1 wherein the mixed liquor is from a membrane biological reactor for treating municipal, institutional, or industrial wastewater.

27. A method of conditioning a membrane biological reactor mixed liquor containing one or more nonionic polysaccharides and/or one or more organic molecules that are nonionic comprising: a. selecting one or more anionic polymers that have the ability to complex or associate with one or more nonionic polysaccharides and/or one or more organic molecules that are nonionic; b. adding one or more water soluble amphoteric, cationic or zwitterionic polymers, or combination thereof to the mixed liquor; and c. adding a composition containing one or more water soluble anionic polymers selected from step (a) to the mixed liquor.

Description:

METHOD OF CONDITIONING A MIXED LIQUOR CONTAINING NONIONIC POLYSACCHARIDES AND/OR NONIONIC ORGANIC MOLECULES

FIELD OF THE INVENTION This invention pertains to a method of conditioning a membrane biological reactor

(MBR) mixed liquor containing one or more nonionic polysaccharides and/or nonionic organic molecules.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Biological treatment of wastewater for removal of dissolved organics is well known and is widely practiced in both municipal and industrial plants. This aerobic biological process is generally known as the "activated sludge" process in which microorganisms consume the organic compounds through their growth. The process necessarily includes sedimentation of the microorganisms or "biomass" to separate it from the water and thus the final effluent with reduced Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) and TSS (Total Suspended Solids) is obtained. The sedimentation step is typically done in a clarifier unit. Thus, the biological process is constrained by the need to produce biomass that has good settling properties. These conditions are especially difficult to maintain during intermittent periods of high organic loading and the appearance of contaminants that are toxic to the biomass. Membranes coupled with biological reactors (MBRs) for the treatment of wastewater are well known, but are not widely practiced yet. In these systems, ultrafiltration (UF), microfiltration (MF) or nanofiltration (NF) membranes replace sedimentation of biomass for solids-liquid separation. The membrane can be installed in the bioreactor tank or in an adjacent tank where the mixed liquor is continuously pumped from the bioreactor tank and back producing effluent with much lower total suspended solids (TSS), typically less than 5 mg/L, compared to 20 to 50 mg/L from a clarifier. More importantly, these MBRs de-couple the biological process from the need to settle the biomass, since the biomass separation from the water is achieved by membrane. This allows operation of the biological process at conditions that would be untenable in a conventional system including: 1) high MLSS (bacteria loading) of 10-30 g/L, 2) extended sludge retention time, and 3) short hydraulic retention time. In a conventional system, such conditions could lead to sludge bulking and poor settleability.

The benefits of the MBR operation include low sludge production, almost complete solids removal from the effluent, effluent disinfection, combined COD, solids and nutrient removal in a single unit, high loading rate capability, no problems with sludge bulking, and small footprint. Disadvantages include aeration limitations, membrane fouling, and membrane costs.

Membrane costs are directly related to the membrane area needed for a given volumetric flow through the membrane, or "flux." Flux is expressed as Iiters/m 2 /hour (LMH) or gallons/ft 2 / day (GFD). Typical flux rates in MBRs vary from approximately 10 LMH to about 20 LMH. These flux rates are relatively lower compared to those observed in drinking water applications (>50 LMH) with membranes having similar pore size and chemistries. These lower flux rates are mainly due to fouling of the membranes, and are the main reason for slower growth of MBR systems for wastewater treatment.

The MBR membrane interfaces with so-called "mixed liquor" which is composed of water, dissolved solids such as proteins, polysaccharides, suspended solids such as colloidal and particulate material, aggregates of bacteria or "floes", free bacteria, protozoa, and various dissolved metabolites and cell components. In operation, the colloidal and particulate solids and dissolved organics deposit on the surface of the membrane. Colloidal particles form a layer on the surface of the membrane called a "cake layer." Cake layer formation is especially problematic in MBRs operated in the "dead end" mode where there is no cross flow; i.e., flow tangential to the membrane. Depending on the porosity of the cake layer, hydraulic resistance increases and flux declines.

In addition to the cake formation on the membrane, small particles can plug the membrane pores, a fouling condition that may not be reversible. Compared to a conventional activated sludge process, floe (particle) size is reportedly much smaller in typical MBR units. Since MBR membrane pore size varies from about 0.04 to about 0.4 μm, particles smaller than this can cause pore plugging. Pore plugging increases resistance for permeation through membrane and decreases flux.

In addition to these physical fouling mechanisms, the soluble polysaccharides (from "Biopolymer") adsorb on the membrane surface as well as on the pore walls and form a slimy layer, thus contributing significantly to the total resistance for water permeation. It is known in the literature that extra-cellular polysaccharides secreted by bacteria include both anionic (e.g. uronic acids) as well as nonionic oligo and polysaccharides (e.g. hexoses and pentoses). Conditioning the mixed liquor with cationic, amphoteric or zwitterionic polymers results in complexation of only charged polysaccharides. The nonionic oligo/polysaccharides still form a slimy layer on the membrane surface, resulting in increased resistance for permeation.

Therefore, there is a need to develop improved methods of conditioning the mixed liquor in MBR systems to also address the fouling caused by nonionic oligo/polysaccharides and/or nonionic organic molecules, and increase the flux of the membranes.

FIGURES/DRAWINGS

Figure 1 shows the effect of sequential addition of PGA (polygalacturanic acid) and Product A in Pilot MBR mixed liquor on suction pressure increase for a 24 hr period. Figure 2 shows the effect of sequential addition of PGA and Product A in Pilot MBR mixed liquor on suction pressure increase for a period of 5 days.

Figure 3 shows the effect of sequential addition of PGA and Product A in Western US MBR plant mixed liquor on suction pressure increase for a 24 hr period.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention pertains to a method of conditioning a membrane biological reactor mixed liquor containing one or more nonionic polysaccharides and/or one or more organic molecules that are nonionic comprising: (a) selecting one or more anionic polymers that have the ability to complex or associate with one or more nonionic polysaccharides and/or one or more organic molecules that are nonionic; (b) adding a composition containing one or more water soluble anionic polymers selected from step (a) to the mixed liquor; and (c) adding one or more water soluble amphoteric, cationic or zwitterionic polymers, or combination thereof to the mixed liquor after performing step b. This invention also pertains to a method of conditioning a membrane biological reactor mixed liquor containing one or more nonionic polysaccharides and/or one or more organic molecules that are nonionic comprising: (a) selecting one or more anionic polymers that have the ability to complex or associate with one or more nonionic polysaccharides and/or one or more organic molecules that are nonionic; (b) adding one or more water soluble amphoteric, cationic or zwitterionic polymers, or combination thereof to the mixed liquor; and (c) adding a composition containing one or more water soluble anionic polymers selected from step (a) to the mixed liquor;

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Throughout this patent application the following terms have the indicated meanings.

"MBR" means membrane biological reactor.

"Amphoteric polymer" means a polymer derived from both cationic monomers and anionic monomers, and, possibly, other non-ionic monomer(s). Amphoteric polymers can have a net positive or negative charge. The amphoteric polymer may also be derived from zwitterionic

monomers and cationic or anionic monomers and possibly nonionic monomers. The amphoteric polymer is water soluble.

"Cationic polymer" means a polymer having an overall positive charge. The cationic polymers of this invention may be prepared by polymerizing one or more cationic monomers, by copolymerizing one or more nonionic monomers and one or more cationic monomers, by condensing epichlorohydrin and a diamine or polyamine or condensing ethylenedichloride and ammonia or formaldehyde and an amine salt. The cationic polymer is water soluble.

"Zwitterionic polymer" means a polymer composed from zwitterionic monomers and, possibly, other non-ionic monomer(s). In zwitterionic polymers, all the polymer chains and segments within those chains are rigorously electrically neutral. Therefore, zwitterionic polymers represent a subset of amphoteric polymers, necessarily maintaining charge neutrality across all polymer chains and segments because both anionic charge and cationic charge are introduced wifhin the same zwitterionic monomer. The zwitterionic polymer is water-soluble.

"Anionic polymer" means a polymer having an overall negative charge. It also means, in addition to the negative charge, the anionic polymer has functionalities and ability for association with neutral/non-ionic oligo/polysaccharide and/or other non-ionic organic s present in the mixed liquor of MBR. It may be natural or synthetic. The anionic polymer is water-soluble.

"Mixed Liquor" or "sludge" means a mixture of wastewater, microorganisms used to degrade organic materials in the wastewater, organic-containing material derived from cellular species, cellular by-products and/or waste products, or cellular debris. Mixed liquor can also contain colloidal and particulate material (i.e. biomass / biosolids) and/ or soluble molecules or biopolymers (i.e. neutral and charged oligo/polysaccharides, proteins, etc.);

MLSS : Mixed Liquor Suspended Solid ( mg L "1 or ppm) means the concentration of biomass which is treating organic material, in the mixed liquor. DMAE. MCQ means dimethylaminoethylacrylate.methylchloride quaternary salt.

"Nonionic" means having a net neutral charge. For example, a polysaccharide that is a non-ionic polysaccharide has a net neutral charge.

"Polysaccharide/polysaccharides" include polysaccharide(s) and/or oligosaccharide(s).

PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

As stated above, the anionic polymers selected must have the ability to associate with one or more types of nonionic polymers and/or organic molecules that are nonionic.

One of ordinary skill in the art would understand what the word associate means. For example, association of a target molecule(s), e.g. nonionic polysaccharides and/or other nonionic

organic molecules with anionic polymer may occur by one or more of the following manners of association: H-bonding, ionic bonding; covalent bonding; co-ordination bonding, and Van der Waals' forces.

Factors such as mixed liquor salinity, pH, temperature and presence of H-bond breaking compounds such as urea may enhance or inhibit association.

In one embodiment, the association between anionic polymers and non-ionic polysaccharides in the mixed liquor is through H-bonding

The amount of anionic polymer(s) added to the system depends on the type of mixed liquor. In one embodiment, the anionic polymer is a polygalacturonic acid.

In another embodiment, the anionic polymers are selected from the group consisting of: glucuronic acid; mannuronic acid; pyruvic acid; alginic acid; salts thereof; and combination thereof.

In another embodiment, the anionic polymers with no limitation on stereochemistry or linkage type between the monomers are selected.

In another embodiment, the anionic polymers are homopolysaccharides or heteropolysaccharides .

In another embodiment, the anionic polymers could be branched or linear. In another embodiment, the anionic polymers may be selected from those containing carboxylic acid, sulfonic acid or phosphoric acid functionality and H-bonding groups such as - OH, -NH and/or -SH. Various amounts of anionic polymers may be added to the mixed liquor.

In another embodiment, the amount of anionic polymer added to the mixed liquor is from about 5 ppm to about 10,000 ppm based upon active solids. In a further embodiment, the amount of anionic polymer added to the mixed liquor is from about 10 ppm to about 200 ppm based upon active solids.

The target species for said anionic polymers include neutral/nonionic polysaccharides, containing e.g. several -OH groups, and/or other nonionic organic molecules.

The nonionic polysaccharides may be of various types. Depending on the mixed liquor that is being conditioned by the polymers, the types of nonionic polysaccharides may vary from system to system.

In one embodiment, the non-ionic polysaccharides are selected from the group consisting of: rhamnose, pyranose, galactose, mannose, dextrans and glucans.

Those skilled in the art would know that the non-ionic polysaccharides could be other types of hexoses and pentoses, than those mentioned above.

In one embodiment, the non-ionic polysaccharides could be homopolysaccharides or heteropolysaccharides .

In another embodiment, the non-ionic polysaccharides could be branched or linear.

In another embodiment, the non-ionic organic molecules from mixed liquor that are targeted for association by the anionic polymers are selected from the group consisting of: amines; alcohols; glycerols; glycols; and a combination thereof.

After performing the addition of the step of adding anionic polymers to the mixed liquor, including, but not necessarily, subsequent to the addition of anionic polymers, one or more water soluble amphoteric, cationic, or zwitterionic polymers, or a combination thereof are added to the mixed liquor.

In one embodiment, the amphoteric polymers are selected from the group consisting of: acrylic acid/DMAEA-MCQ copolymer, DADMAC/acrylic acid copolymer, DADMAC/acrylic acid/acrylamide terpolymer, and a combination thereof.

In another embodiment, the amphoteric polymers have a molecular weight from about 5,000 daltons to about 2,000,000 daltons.

In another embodiment, the amphoteric polymers have a molecular weight from about 1,000,000 daltons to about 2,000,000 daltons.

In another embodiment, the amphoteric polymers have a cationic charge equivalent to anionic charge equivalent ratio of about 0.2:9.8 to about 9.8:0.2. In another embodiment, the amphoteric polymer is a 70 mole %/30 mole % blend of

DMAEA.MCQ and acrylic acid. This is a preferred amphoteric polymer because it consistently exhibits good flux enhancement.

In another embodiment, the cationic polymer is a copolymer of acrylamide and one or more cationic monomers selected from the group consisting of: diallyldimethylammonium chloride; dimethylaminoethylacrylate methyl chloride quaternary salt; dimethylammoethylmethacrylate methyl chloride quaternary salt; and dimethylaminoethylacrylate benzyl chloride quaternary salt.

In another embodiment, the cationic polymers have a cationic charge of at least about 5 mole percent. In another embodiment, the cationic polymers have a cationic charge of 100 mole percent.

In another embodiment, the cationic polymers have a molecular weight of from about 2,000,000 daltons to about 5,000,000 daltons.

In another embodiment, the cationic polymer is selected from the group consisting of: polydiallyldimethylammonium chloride; polyethyleneiraine; polyepiamine; polyepiamine crosslinked with ammonia or ethylenediamine; condensation polymer of ethylenedichloride and ammonia; condensation polymer of triethanolamine and tall oil fatty acid; poly(dimethylaminoethylmethacrylate sulfuric acid salt); and poly(dimethylaminoethylacrylate methyl chloride quaternary salt).

In another embodiment, the amphoteric polymers are selected from the group consisting of: dimethylaminoethyl acrylate methyl chloride quaternary salt/acrylic acid copolymer; diallyldimethylammonium chloride/acrylic acid copolymer; dimethylaminoethyl acrylate methyl chloride salt/N j N-dimethyl-N-methacrylamidopropyl-N-CS-sulfopropylJ-ammonium betaine copolymer; acrylic acid/N,N-dimethyl~N-methacrylamidopropyl-N-(3 -sulfopropyl)-ammonium betaine copolymer and DMAEA- MCQ/ Aery lie acid/N,N-dimethyl-N-methacrylamidopropyl-N- (3-sulfopropyl)-ammonium betaine terpolymer.

In another embodiment, the zwitterionic polymers are selected from the group consisting of: N, N-dimethyl-N-(2-acryloyloxyethyl)-N-(3-sulfopropyl) ammonium betaine; copolymer of acrylamide and N, N-dimethyl-N-(2-acryloyloxyethyl)-N-(3-suIfopropyl) ammonium betaine; and terpolymer of acrylamide, N-vinyl-2-pyrrolidone; and l-(3-sulfopropyI)-2-vmylpyridinium betaine.

In another embodiment, the water soluble zwitterionic polymer is composed of about 1 to about 99 mole percent of N,N-dimethyl-N-methacrylamidopropyl-N-(3-sulfopropyl)-ammoni um betaine and about 99 to about 1 mole percent of one or more nonionic monomers.

In another embodiment, the water soluble zwitterionic polymers have a molecular weight from about 5,000 daltons to about 2,000,000 daltons.

In another embodiment, the anionic polymers have a molecular weight from about 1,000 daltons to about 2,000,000 daltons.

The conditioning method may be a part of broader method of purification.

In one embodiment, the method further comprises: purifying the conditioned mixed liquor by further processing the mixed liquor through one or more membranes selected from the group consisting of: ultrafiltration membranes; microfiltration membranes; nanofiltration membranes; and reverse osmosis membranes.

The conditioning protocol can be applied to various types of treatment facilities.

In one embodiment, the mixed liquor is from a membrane biological reactor for treating municipal, institutional (e.g. resorts, apartment complexes, hotels, schools), or industrial wastewater.

There may be various amounts of nonionic polysaccharides in the mixed liquor. In one embodiment, there is at least 10% of noniomc polysaccharides based upon the total amount of noniomc species in the mixed liquor.

The following examples are not meant to be limiting.

EXAMPLES

A. EXPERIMENTAL PROTOCOL

Since polygalacturonic acid (PGA) is one of the anionic polysaccharides found in extracellular polysaccharides, it was chosen for testing. Product A (an amphoteric DMAEA.MCQ (70 mole%)-Acrylic acid (30 mole%) copolymer with net positive charge) was used for second step after conditioning the mixed liquor with PGA, Currently the MBR plants typically run at 12-25 LMH due to severe fouling at higher fluxes. Therefore, fouling control for longer period at higher flux of e.g. 36 LMH would be of great interest to MBR users. The experimental protocol involved the following sequence:

1) addition of mixed liquor in the flow-through cell tanks containing cleaned membranes (7.5 L each in control and treatment),

2) addition of Na salt of PGA (referred hereafter as PGA) at various concentrations in the treatment tank and mixing for 10 minutes under aeration (10 Liter/min),

3) addition of 250 ppm-active product A and mixing for 10 minutes under aeration, and

4) permeate suction at 36 LMH and 10 lit/min membrane aeration (flat plate membrane with active area of 0.1 m 2 ) , while monitoring the suction pressure

B. RESULTS

Figure 1 shows the effect of addition of PGA at various concentrations, followed by product- A for mixed liquor conditioning on the suction pressure of membrane at 36 LMH flux with a mixed liquor obtained from a pilot MBR that was operated using a synthetic wastewater. Higher the suction pressure, higher the membrane fouling. MBR plants typically clean the membranes after the suction pressure reaches 7-8 psi. It is apparent from Figure 1 that the suction pressure for control reached 12 psi within 30 minutes, whereas at the end of the 24 hours, the suction pressures decreased from 10 psi with Product -A alone, to 8 psi with 50 ppm PGA+

250ppm-activeProduct-A and to about 3 psi with 100 or 200 ppm PGA+ 250 ppm-active Product-A. The next experiment was conducted to evaluate the sustainability of above results for longer period with 200ppm PGA+250 ppm-active Product-A, with sludge replacement and treatment every 24 hours. As shown in Figure 2, the sequential addition resulted in suction pressure increase up to only 3 psi after 5 days of continuous operation.

The method of this invention was also tested with mixed liquor obtained from Western US full-scale municipal MBR plant. This mixed liquor had lower MLSS (0.97%) and polysaccharide level (7 ppm) compared to pilot MBR mentioned above (1.25-1.5% and 50-70 ppm, respectively). Therefore PGA and Product-A concentrations were chosen to be 20 ppm and 25 ppm, both as active solids, respectively. The results for a 24 hours experiment are shown in Figure 3. The beneficial effect of sequential addition is apparent with this low fouling mixed liquor as well.

Thus, the sequential chemical addition method resulted in fouling reduction at high flux of 36 LMH, with both high fouling and low fouling mixed liquors. Also, the COD removal was about 90% and thus not affected by the method of this invention.