Over the past 10 years part of the activities of the Aquafin R&D department deal with comparative and pilot research on advanced wastewater treatment technologies. This includes membrane filtration (MBR and tertiary), sand filtration, reverse osmosis, discfilters…
During the past ten to twenty years, the availability, efficiency and reliability of membrane systems have significantly increased. At the same time the capital and operational costs of these systems have declined considerably.
MBR is a combination of the conventional activated sludge process, together with a micro/ultra membrane filtration to carry out the solids / liquids separation. MBRs are getting a lot of attention for wastewater treatment to provide clean effluent for discharge into local waterways and for industrial applications for reuse of the water. MBRs offer a smaller footprint and produce higher quality treated water than conventional activated sludge processing plants. They can be located on site where the wastewater is produced and where the water can be reused. MBRs can be combined with nanofiltration or reversed osmosis to produce high quality water for reuse.
Aquafin’s efforts in membrane research resulted in a full-scale MBR installation at Schilde - the first implementation in the Benelux - and in the upgrading of the effluent of WWTP Wulpen with microfiltration and reversed osmosis prior to aquifer recharge and subsequent drinking water production.
Aquafin carried out an analysis of the potential for standardization of MBR filtration modules and of uniform characterization methods of the membranes itself.
Aquafin took the responsibility to initiate on all levels this new proposal of standardized approach and co-organized the ‘6th IWA specialist Conference on Wastewater Reclamation and reuse for sustainability” in 2007 in Antwerp.