A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF CONVENTIONAL EXTENDED AERATION AND MODERN MEMBRANE BIOREACTOR METHODS OF SEWAGE TREATMENT FROM THE ENVIRONMENTAL AND FINANCIAL PERSPECTIVES
Keywords:Wastewater treatment, Extended aeration, Membrane bioreactor, Capital expenditure (CAPEX), Operating expenses (OPEX)
The conventional extended aeration (EA) method has been considered as an effective method of secondary wastewater treatment in various installations around the world. The membrane bioreactor (MBR) method has been promoted by membrane manufacturers over the past decade as the most efficient treatment method in the industry. Research has shown the higher quality of MBR effluent compared with that of EA, but thecomparison has seldom included the financial aspects. If the effluent quality from both methods is acceptable for a given reuse application, then a major consideration in adopting either method must be financial (i.e., the capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operating expenses (OPEX) involved in their deployment). In this study, simulation of both methods is conducted for domestic wastewater treatment plants using the biological and financial models of CAPDETWorksTM. The CAPEX and OPEX findings from the simulation were re-based to October 2019 usingglobal price indices. Hydraulic loads from 500 to 5,000 m3/d were considered for three influent strengths: weak, medium, and strong. It is found that the EA method is less costly in meeting the effluent-quality requirements of certain reuse applications, while the MBR is recommended for the extra strong-strength influent especially for units smaller than 500m3/d, due to both effluent quality and lifetime cost.