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The Nordkanal MBR site, ca. 2005Credit: Erftverband
CS Kunming cleaning
The membrane tank fittings: air lines (above) and permeate streams (below)

Municipal MBRs

The vast majority of the wastewater treatment capacity provided by MBRs worldwide is for municipal wastewater treatment, since the total flow of sewage is far greater than that of industrial effluent. Municipal MBR installations are generally larger than the industrial plants.

Similarly, most of the research into MBRs, focused largely on membrane fouling, relates to municipal wastewater treatment.

MBRs for municipal WW treatment

Municipal wastewater is generally treated to meet statutory requirements for discharge to environmental waters, though there is increasing implementation of wastewater reuse schemes. Removal or inactivation of pathogenic bacteria is required for either discharge to bathing areas or reuse applications such as irrigation.

MBRs for municipal wastewater treatment
Sulaibiya NPR treatment scheme
Credit: Judd Water & Wastewater Consultants

MBRs for reclamation and reuse

There are three types of water reuse applications where wastewater is reclaimed for some purpose: non-potable reuse, indirect potable reuse, and direct potable reuse. NPR installations have less strict product water quality requirements than those for IPR or DPR.

MBRs for reclamation and reuse

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A graphical map of the world, with nodes in white connected from continent to continent to demonstrate an interconnected world.

MBR global capacity

Given that around 1000 GLD of sewage is being generated globally, and that perhaps no more than half of this is treated, it can be estimated that MBR technology provides up to 5% of the world’s sewage treatment capacity.

MBR global capacity
CS Kunming bank of screens

Largest MBR plants worldwide

Our list of largest plants (over 100 megalitres/day, or MLD, in capacity) represents our latest information on the largest membrane bioreactor plants worldwide, including new contracts which have been won but not yet installed. If you know of any others, please let us know.

Largest MBR plants worldwide

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