Belgian Wastewater Treatment Plant first in Europe to use ZeeLung* technology

Flanders’ wastewater treatment company, Aquafin, will upgrade the Schilde Wastewater Treatment Plant by means of a unique combined solution of GE's ZeeLung* Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor (MABR) and ZeeWeed* membrane bioreactor (MBR) technologies. Aquafin needed to meet new total nitrogen removal requirements while remaining in its existing footprint. The plant, located in the Belgian province of Antwerp, will be the first in Europe to use the new ZeeLung MABR technology.

GE Water & Process Technologies’ hybrid system means 50 per cent of the wastewater will be treated by ZeeWeed 500D MBR, and the remaining flow of 8 million litres per day will be treated by a conventional activated sludge system. GE says that by adding ZeeLung MABR to the plant, it enables improved total nitrogen removal in the conventional activated sludge stream.

The plant was originally designed for the treatment of 28,000 population equivalents (both hydraulic and biologic capacity). The actual load of the Schilde Wastewater Treatment Plant has, however, gradually increased to 35,000 population equivalents. In 2015, biological treatment capacity was increased by extending membrane capacity of the MBR (so it can handle more flow) and installing post-denitrification sand filters on the effluent of the conventional activated sludge system.

The Schilde Wastewater Treatment Plant is the largest municipal hybrid MBR system in Flanders, and the upgrade is being completed by KAMPS SA. After the expansion is complete in the first quarter of 2017, the plant will have 65 per cent total nitrogen removal.

ZeeLung MABR technology employs a gas transfer membrane to deliver oxygen to a biofilm that is attached to the membrane surface. Immersing ZeeLung cassettes into mixed liquor increases the inventory of biomass in a treatment system thereby intensifying the biological treatment process. Oxygen is delivered to the biofilm by diffusion through the membrane, which reduces the energy required for oxygen delivery by up to four times compared to conventional aeration, GE says.

* Trademark of General Electric Company; may be registered in one or more countries.

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