The application of a membrane bioreactor for wastewater treatment on a northern Manitoban Aboriginal community
Frederickson, Kristinn Cameron
MetadataShow full item record
Water infrastructure on Aboriginal communities in Canada, and specifically Northern Manitoba is in sub-standard condition. A recent Government of Canada study indicated that an estimated $1.5 billion would need to be spent to improve this infrastructure. September 2003 through July 2004, an examination of the effectiveness of a membrane bioreactor (MBR) in a Northern Manitoban Aboriginal community took place. This study was intended to identify and test an appropriate and effective solution for the lack of adequate wastewater treatment in these communities. The MBR system, employing a Zenon ZW-10 ultrafiltration membrane, was designed and constructed at the University of Manitoba. It was installed and tested in two phases at the Opaskwayak Cree Nation Reserve in Northern Manitoba. Phase I was a direct comparison between the pilot-scale MBR and the community’s existing Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR) with sand filter. This phase occurred from September 2003 until December 2003. The MBR, with an SRT of 20-days and an HRT of 10 hours, outperformed the SBR in every category despite 2 mechanical/electrical failures that resulted in the loss of biomass from the MBR. The SBR/Sand filter combination had BOD, TSS, and TKN concentrations of 30.3 mg/L, 27.5 mg/L, and 8.4 mg/L, respectively. By comparison, the BOD, TSS, and TKN concentrations in the MBR effluent were <6 mg/L, <5 mg/L, and 1.3 mg/L respectively. Phase II, from March 2004 through July 2004, tested the overall MBR efficacy and intended to assess a novel remote control and monitoring system. The MBR SRT was adjusted to 40-days and, as expected, the MBR MLVSS concentration increased to a relatively stable 5000 mg/L. The MBR continued to provide high quality effluent with some exceptions. Despite the 0.034 μm pore size, the total coliforms and TSS measured in the effluent were higher than in Phase I. This indicates a compromised membrane, faulty sampling procedures, or biological regrowth downstream of the membrane. This failure could point to the need for some form of tertiary disinfection. Also in Phase II, a remote control and monitoring program was implemented. The controlling PC was controlled via the internet using pcAnywhere software. The software allowed for real-time monitoring and complete control of the pilot system. In conclusion, the pilot-scale MBR yielded consistent, high quality wastewater effluent and this would benefit the pristine environments existing in Manitoba’s north. The potential hands-free operation could be utilized to provide support to communities lacking sufficient wastewater treatment know-how.