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Knowledge Base - MBR Subsystems


Air Supply Systems
 How is airflow measured?
 My blower is tripping offline or not providing the same airflow rate that it used to.
What should I do?
 My Hach DO probe is not accurate. Do I need to calibrate it?
 SCFM - definition
 Troubleshooting MBR airflow readings.
 What is Air Scouring?
 What is coarse bubble aeration in an MBR?
 What is my DO setpoint?
 What is proportional airflow?
 When I try to manually operate a valve actuator it returns to its previous position as
soon as I release the manual override knob. How can I get the valve to hold its
position?

Anerobic Zone
 Activated Sludge - definition
 Anaerobic (An) - definition
 What is DeNitrification and where in the process does it happen?

Anoxic (Pre & Post)


 Anoxic (Ax) - definition
 What is DeNitrification and where in the process does it happen?

Chemical Cleaning
 Backpulsing - definition
 Backwash - definition
 Chemically enhanced backwash (CEB) - definition
 Clean In Place (CIP) - definition
 Do I need to prepare for Winter?
 How does the Membrane Chemcial Dosing System (CDS) Work?
 Is silt a problem in MBRs?
 Maintenance Cleaning - definition
 Recovery Cleaning - definition
 What causes a Trans Membrane Pressure (TMP) Alarm?
 What chemical (and concentration) should be used to perform a maintenance
clean?
 What is Biofilm?
 What is the impact of wax on membrane performance?

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 What is the MAP to MBR Success?


 When is it appropriate to use Acid for a membrane cleaning?

Chemical Dosing
 Do I need to prepare for Winter?
 Is silt a problem in MBRs?
 What is the impact of wax on membrane performance?

Disinfection
 What is Turbidity?

Equalization

Headworks
 Is silt a problem in MBRs?

Internal Recycle
 Activated Sludge - definition
 Does my magnetic flowtube flowmeter require regular maintenance?
 Mixed Liquor (ML) - definition
 What MLSS should we being running in the MBR.
 Why do we recycle sludge and what is the appropriate flow rate?

MBR Zone
 Activated Sludge - definition
 Biohydraulics - definition
 Cassette - definition
 How are the Flat Plate Membranes installed in a treatment basin?
 How do I know if the diffuser clean cycle has been performed?
 How do I take a train offline for long term storage?
 How does static pressure figure into my TMP calculation?
 How is airflow measured?
 Is Flux the same as Flow?
 Is TMP the same as suction pressure?
 Mixed Liquor (ML) - definition
 My blower is tripping offline or not providing the same airflow rate that it used to.
What should I do?
 My permeate pumps do not maintain a prime. Is this a problem?
 My turbidity transmitter is not working. Do I need to calibrate it?

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 Relaxation - definition
 Seeded - definition
 Troubleshooting MBR airflow readings.
 What are the components of a Flat Panel Membrane?
 What causes a Trans Membrane Pressure (TMP) Alarm?
 What is Air Scouring?
 What is Biofilm?
 What is coarse bubble aeration in an MBR?
 What is Localized Dewatering?
 What is Permeability Control (PC)?
 What is proportional airflow?
 What is Q for my Plant?
 What is sludge filterability?
 What is Turbidity?
 What MLSS should we being running in the MBR.
 When I try to manually operate a valve actuator it returns to its previous position as
soon as I release the manual override knob. How can I get the valve to hold its
position?
 Why do I sometimes experience a failure to permeate after a diffuser cleaning Cycle.
 Why do we recycle sludge and what is the appropriate flow rate?

Permeate Control
 Does my magnetic flowtube flowmeter require regular maintenance?
 How does static pressure figure into my TMP calculation?
 Is Flux the same as Flow?
 Is TMP the same as suction pressure?
 My permeate pumps do not maintain a prime. Is this a problem?
 My turbidity transmitter is not working. Do I need to calibrate it?
 What causes a Trans Membrane Pressure (TMP) Alarm?
 What is Permeability Control (PC)?
 What is Q for my Plant?
 When I try to manually operate a valve actuator it returns to its previous position as
soon as I release the manual override knob. How can I get the valve to hold its
position?

pH Adjustment

Pre-Aeration (PA) Zone


 Activated Sludge - definition
 How is airflow measured?
 My blower is tripping offline or not providing the same airflow rate that it used to.
What should I do?
 My Hach DO probe is not accurate. Do I need to calibrate it?

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 What is DeNitrification and where in the process does it happen?


 What is my DO setpoint?
 What is Symbio?

Sludge Wasting
 Does my magnetic flowtube flowmeter require regular maintenance?
 How much sludge should I waste, and how often?
 Why do we recycle sludge and what is the appropriate flow rate?

Supplemental Carbon Supply

Systems Integration
 Does my magnetic flowtube flowmeter require regular maintenance?
 How do I take a train offline for long term storage?
 If my HMI fails will the MBR continue to operate?
 My plant shut down due to an equipment alarm. How do I restart it?
 What are Critical Alarms?
 What causes a Trans Membrane Pressure (TMP) Alarm?
 What is Permeability Control (PC)?
 What is SCADA?
 Why do I sometimes experience a failure to permeate after a diffuser cleaning Cycle.

Activated Sludge - definition


Activated Sludge process is a process in sewage treatment in which air or oxygen is forced into sewage to
develop a biological floc which reduces the organic content of the sewage. The biological floc and the
treated effluent is then separated by gravity settling or a membrane in the case of an MBR.

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Anaerobic (An) - definition
(1) A condition in which free and dissolved oxygen is unavailable.

(2) Requiring or not destroyed by the absence of air or free oxygen.

(3) Absence of oxygen, as opposed to aerobic. In wastewater treatment the absence of


oxygen is indicated as anoxic; and anaerobic is used to indicate the absence of any
electron acceptor (nitrate, sulfate or oxygen).

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Anoxic (Ax) - definition
(1) Condition in which oxygen is available in the combined form only; there is no free
oxygen. Anoxic sections in an activated sludge plant may be used for denitrification.

(2) Absence of oxygen. Other electron acceptors are present in an anoxic environment
(nitrate, sulfate, etc).

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Backpulsing - definition
The reversal of permeate flow through the membranes to flush trapped particles from
the membrane pores and cavities. This process is not required with Kubota flat plate
membranes.
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Backwash - definition
The reversal of flow through a filtration medium. Often used as a cleaning operation
that involves periodic reverse flow to remove foulants accumulated at the membrane
surface. This process is not necessary with Kubota flat plate membranes.
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Biohydraulics - definition
Term given to the process optimization of a membrane bioreactor system by integrating
biological treatment processes for maximum nutrient removal and the metabolism of
carbonaceous material with reactor hydraulics.

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Cassette - definition
An assembly of membranes intended to be removed from an immersed system as a unit.
(Also referred to as a membrane unit or rack)

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Chemically enhanced backwash (CEB) - definition
A technique to clean the membrane where the fibers are soaked in chemical solution by
stopping the backwash pumps for a fixed period, then the entire system is back flushed
before resuming normal operation. An expensive process step required with some
competitors membranes. This is another process step that is eliminated with Kubota
membranes.
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Clean In Place (CIP) - definition
A system or process for cleaning membranes while preventing physical damage to them
by allowing them to remain in the basin that they are located in.

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Do I need to prepare for Winter?
Assuming by winter you are referring to Christmas in Ohio, not a January morning on
the beach in Hawaii - Yes.

Points of consideration as we head into the cooler months are:

 I&I as a result of rain or snow melt.


 Decreased water temperatures which result in decrease flux rates.
 Potential impact on communications.
 Environmental impacts on equipment (freezing pipes, sticking actuators, freezing
blower guards, slippery decks, etc).
 Critical spare parts inventory.
 Chemical inventory (MPE50, additional cleaning chemicals if silt is an issue).
 Addressing maintenance issues prior to the onset of harsh weather.

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Your EQuipTech Customer Support Representative can provide you with additional
ideas and help in developing your spare parts and chemical inventories. Contact them
via the EQuipTech Hotline at 512-652-5848 or at EQuipTech@glv.com.

Weather Check

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Does my magnetic flowtube flowmeter require regular maintenance?
Of course our first answer is - refer to the manufacturer's documentation. But we'll go
on to explain - Magnetic flowtube style flowmeters are very accurate and high reliable.
When installed on the clean water systems (permeate, plant reuse water) of an MBR
facility, they are virtually maintenance free. Meters installed on the dirty systems (RAS,
WAS, influent) can, over time, suffer from accumulated build up inside the tube.
Because they can ultimately produce a restriction in the line, the first indication of their
failure is often a reduction in flow values, that can't be explained by pump performance.

Resolution to this issue is often very simple. Following the manufacturers


recommendations remove and service the tube.

It is important to remember that on some systems the failure of a flowmeter can result
in plant shutdowns. If the PLC does not see the expected flow from a pump / valve
during a permeate cycle its alarm reaction may be to shutdown that pump / valve. An
evaluation of your system will help determine if adding flowmeters to your critical
spares inventory is prudent for your facility.

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How are the Flat Plate Membranes installed in a treatment basin?
Multiple cartridges (between 25-400) are inserted into cassettes and the cassettes, in
turn, stacked on top of integral air diffusers. The nozzle of each cartridge is connected to
a permeate manifold that is connected to header located outside of the MBR. The entire
assembly consisting of cassettes and an air diffuser is referred to as a submerged
membrane unit or SMU.

The engineered configuration of a Kubota SMU, and specifically the fixed vertical
orientation of the cartridges, allow the diffused air to uniformly scour each membrane
sheet. In normal operation, an equilibrium is established within seconds between the
material being brought to the membrane surface through filtration and the material that
is scoured away by the crossflow of mixed liquor. The result of this equilibrium is
commonly referred to as a biofilm.

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How do I know if the diffuser clean cycle has been performed?
The diffuser clean cycle is a critical function for the MBR and confirmation of its
execution is important. Try to schedule the diffuser clean cycle(s) so that the process can
be viewed by plant personnel. Otherwise, use SCADA trending analysis to verify that
permeation was suspended at the same time as the diffuser clean cycle was scheduled
and that an airflow reading was present. While this will not provide hard proof that the
cycle is happening, it is indicative of the systems attempt to conduct the cleaning.

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How do I take a train offline for long term storage?

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Whether for the purposes of maintenance, equipment rotation or as a response to


changes in process demand, the procedure for preparing a basin for long term storage is
the same. Most of the requirements are obvious:

 Take the equipment offline in the control system.


 Thoroughly clean the basins and membranes. Caution must be taken when cleaning
the membranes/cassettes to avoid contact with high pressure water which can
damage the equipment.
 Properly mothball support equipment (pumps, blowers, and instrumentation) per
the manufacturer's recommendations.
 Protect membrane equipment from UV, weather, falling object damage, animal
damage, etc.

A less obvious, and very important requirement, is the treatment of membranes with
an appropriate surfactant. Flat plate membranes that have become wet (in clean water
or sludge) and are then allowed to dry run a risk of becoming hydrophobic. A simple
application of the surfactant to the membrane material will prevent permeability related
problems upon re-starting of the equipment which otherwise could prove very
problematic.

Your EQuipTech Customer Service Representative can assist with procedures and
purchasing of the appropriate chemicals. Contact them via the EQuipTech Hotline at
512-652-5848 or at EQuipTech@glv.com.

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How does static pressure figure into my TMP calculation?
For systems where the control elements (valve or pump) are below the water level in the
MBR, a level signal can be used to determine PS. However, most systems do not have a
level transmitter in the MBR and it is typical for pumped systems to have the centerline
of the pump above the measured water level. Therefore, the PLC must record the last
static pressure measured during a relax period of no flow and set that equal to PS. This
means that PS is constantly being updated. If the system is in Intermittent Mode for any
length of time, the PLC use the static pressure recorded during the last relax state for
calculating TMP.

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How does the Membrane Chemcial Dosing System (CDS) Work?
1.1 Membrane Chemical Dosing System (CDS)
The Chemical Dosing System (CDS) primarily consists of a Mazzei eductor, an actuated
valve to control makeup or dilution water and a pressure regulator. The clean-in-place
(CIP) procedure is fairly straight forward but can require some initial field adjustments
to optimize fill time.

Before performing a cleaning, refer to the Operation and Maintenance Manual for the
KUBOTA Submerged Membrane Unit. See Section 6.0 for chemical handling
recommendations and membrane cleaning protocol.

To perform a cleaning, an operator must put the system in the CHEMICAL CLEANING
MODE. After the operator has performed this action, that train's Permeate and Air
Scour are stopped. The operator must also stop recycle flow to the affected train by
shutting the appropriate slide gates. At this point, the selected MBR is totally isolated

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with nothing coming into or leaving the system.

In the CHEMICAL CLEANING MODE, each of the units in the MBR to be cleaned must
be prepared to receive the cleaning chemical by closing the isolation valve leading from
the permeate collection header to the permeate flow control valve. Next, the valve on the
chemical feed line leading to the permeate collection header in the MBR to be cleaned
must be opened. After all valves at the MBR are correctly positioned, the cleaning
solution can be transferred to the membranes.

After soaking for about two hours, the membranes should be clean and are ready to be
put back into service. To place an MBR back online, return all manual valves and gates
to their original positions and acknowledge that the process is complete at the HMI. Air
scouring will resume at the appropriate intensity and after a short time delay permeate
flow will resume.

Operating Note:
Chlorine content of spent solution may be high following a cleaning. In
addition, turbidity may be high until cleaning solution is removed. Rinsing
(backfilling) the clean membrane units can mitigate these effects. There is
no limit to how much rinse water is used. However, it is still important not
to exceed maximum backpressure.

The target fill time for cleaning solution is 10-20 minutes. Therefore, if one bank of
membranes is being filled, the feed flow rate should be between 220-440 gpm.

Referencing Figure 4-2 below, to adjust the flowrate, there are three options. First,
adjust the flow using the pressure regulator (Callout 2) just upstream of the Mazzei
eductor (Callout 4). Second adjust the valve (Callout 5) just downstream of the eductor
using the performance table found in the IOM. For fine tuning of stock chemical
federate, the small throttling valves (no callout) upstream of the rotameter can also be
adjusted.

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In summary, to clean all of the membranes in a given train, perform the following
tasks:
1. Refer to Section 6.1.2 of the SMU IOM to calculate the amount of bleach required
to perform the cleaning. Verify that this amount of chemical is contained in the
feed tank.
a. Generally, all the top or bottom cassettes in one bank (11) will be cleaned at a
time.
b. Assuming 12.5% stock bleach solution roughly 88 gal is required per cleaning.
c. All of the upper or lower cassettes in one MBR must be cleaned at the same
time. Therefore, assume at least 200 gal of stock bleach per cleaning.
2. Connect tote containing sufficient chemical.
3. Put the reactor to be cleaned in the CHEMICAL CLEANING MODE at the
HMI.
4. Close the influent gate to the basin being cleaned.
5. Turn the permeate isolation valve in the pipe chase to the cleaning position.
6. Open the chemical feed valve to the MBR to be cleaned.
7. Acknowledge manual actions have been performed and initiate transfer of the
calculated amount of cleaning solution via the HMI.
8. Confirm the request at the prompt.
9. Wait approximately two hours. A timer can be set at the HMI.
a. To avoid high chlorine in plant effluent, rinse the cleaned membranes to
remove spent solution.
b. Rinsing with twice the amount of solution added should be sufficient. For
example, if all the upper cassettes in one MBR are cleaned, flush each bank (left
and right) with approximately 4,000 gal of water before placing the reactor back
in service.
c. Another method of reducing chlorine concentration in the effluent is to make

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sure sufficient permeate dilution water is available. As a default, make sure the
permeate to rinse ratio is greater than 3:1 before discharging spent chemical.
10. Return the permeate and chemical valves and slide gates to their original
positions.
Caution:
Read MSDS before attempting a cleaning. Make sure to wear appropriate
PPE and be aware of bleach off-gas.

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How is airflow measured?
Accurate airflow measurement is critical in the MBR system. Set-points for MBR airflow
are based on a calculation that considers membrane model and quantity. Advances in
MBR technology have resulted in newer systems having multiple airflow setpoints and
utilizing an energy saving strategy know as Proportional Air Scour. Customer airflow
set-points are accessible via the SCADA system. Airflow balance is closely monitored by
the control system and deviations from expected values can result in the generation of
Critical Alarms and train shutdown.

The Enviroquip standard for airflow measurement is the Sierra Instruments Model 620
Mass Flow meter. The manual for this instrument will explain the theory of operation,
installation guidelines and troubleshooting techniques.

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How much sludge should I waste, and how often?
In a healthy treatment system microorganisms consume the organic pollutants in the
wastewater and use that energy to grow new cells. Left unchecked these populations can
grow to the point where they become unhealthy and starve for food. Unhealthy sludge is
typically malodorous, contributes to foaming and negatively impacts the biological
process. To prevent this from happening sludge is periodically wasted from the process.

Wasting in bulk should be avoided if possible. Instead it is recommended that smaller


volumes be wasted multiple times per day. Enviroquip's current automated wasting
strategy offers five selectable wasting times per day, with totalized flow tracking.

Regardless of the strategy employed at your facility it is never recommended to waste in


excess of 10% of the MBR system volume in one day.

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If my HMI fails will the MBR continue to operate?
A failure of the Human Machine Interface (HMI) normally has no immediate impact on
the operation of your facility. A malfunction of the HMI leaves the operator without
visual confirmation of the plants functionality but it is the Programmable Logic
Controller (PLC) that truly controls the treatment systems. Indications of an HMI
failure are a blank screen that doesn't recover on rebooting, seemingly normal graphics
displays without data in the appropriate boxes, inability to change setpoints on systems
(make sure you're properly logged in). PLC failures are usually easy to identify because

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major systems generally cease to function.

It is critical that each facility maintain a backup copy of all installed software
applications. This should include:

PC Operating System with licensing information

HMI / SCADA Applications with licensing information

Alarm Dialer Software with licensing information

Communications Software Backup (RSLinx) with licensing information

Remember - You are responsible for maintaining your system backups!

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Is Flux the same as Flow?
No, but it's related.

The filtration rate per area of membrane is referred to as flux. It is expressed in Gallon
Feet / Day (gfd). Calculate membrane flux for each header using the equation below.
Note that flow is the only measured parameter and that 1,440 min/day is a conversion
factor. All other parameters are fixed values located in the Warranty Table. The area per
cartridge is 8.61 for the Model 510 and ____ for the Model 515.

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Is silt a problem in MBRs?
Many types of fouling can occur and the most overlooked is Silt fouling. The most
common times that silt fouling happens are after heavy rains or snow melt. There are
also other contributing factors to silt in the influent construction, pipe repairs and storm
water / sewer crossed pipes. A fair indicator that Silt fouling has occurred is a temporary
recovery after bleach and acid cleaning are completed. For example, after you bleach
clean, your flow and pressure only return to normal for 1-30 minutes. You then perform
an acid cleaning only to see the same results.

As Silt will not stay in suspension in the sludge, the membranes foul as soon as the
system begins to permeate. Another way to see this is run a clean in place using only
clean water; this will push the silt off the membrane surface. When the system begins to
permeate, again you will see a short-lived recovery.

The sludge thickener MPE50 is excellent for controlling free silt in the MBR basins.
Continuous dosing may be required until the rain stops or cross-contamination
corrected. You will have to monitor your MLSS closely during dosing periods in order to
maintain the recommended 15,000 ml/g MLSS.

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Cold weather brings cold influent, that in turn affects membrane permeability. Do not
mistake a fouling problem with temperature related issues. Ensure you try all cleaning
options before adding MPE50 and if possible ask your Lab manager if testing can be
done to determine if Silt fouling is present.

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Is TMP the same as suction pressure?
It's not quite that easy.

(1) In strict terms, the pressure difference between the high and low pressure side of a
membrane is referred to as transmembrane pressure or TMP. This generally includes
the pressure across a biofilm.

(2) The calculation of Pressure (TMP) requires a correlation between flow, piping
losses and additional logic to estimate static pressure. Generally speaking it is the actual
pressure required to move water through the membranes, after taking all the other
variables into consideration. Two reversible calculations for your reference are:

or

Where,
PP = Piping system losses (no membranes)
PG = Gauge pressure reading during filtration
PS = Static pressure or gauge pressure reading at zero filtration or no flow

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Maintenance Cleaning - definition
An in-situ chemical cleaning lasting between 1hr and 4hr. During a Maintenance
Cleaning the Membrane Zone shall not be drained or rendered incapable of returning to
service within 15 min. Spent solution shall be rinsed into the mixed liquor using
permeate or potable water. The rinse volume shall be greater than or equal to the
amount of dilute chemical added. No additional chemicals are required for
neutralization of spent solution.

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Mixed Liquor (ML) - definition
Mixed Liquor in its various forms can be described as:

(1) Mixed Liquor - A mixture of activated sludge and water containing organic matter
undergoing activated sludge treatment.

(2) Mixed Liquor Suspended Solids - The mass concentration of the solid portion of
Mixed Liquor. The solids are comprised of biomass, and inert inorganic total suspended
solids.

(3) Mixed Liquor Volatile Solids - The portion of the MLSS that is vaporized when the
dry solids are put in a 500C oven for 10 minutes. The MLVSS is measured as a
percentage of MLSS and is usually around 60-80% of MLSS.

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My blower is tripping offline or not providing the same airflow rate that it used
to. What should I do?
Enviroquip almost always specifies Positive Displacement blowers for our MBR
applications. These blowers will move a very predictable amount of air at a given speed
set-point. If this flow-rate drops unexpectedly there are several things to check:

 Confirm that the blower inlet filter is clean. A clogged filter will cause overloading,
overheating, and a decreased rate of discharge.
 Confirm VFD speed is at its normal set-point.
 Verify that belt slippage is not an issue.
 Confirm internal cooling fans are operational.
 Confirm atmospheric temperatures are not in excess of design.

It is very important to remember that most newer MBR facilities have several permeate
interlocks related to airflow. If your system lacks redundancy and/or the only available
blower(s) is not able to satisfy your MBR Scour Air Setpoint it is very likely the affected
train will shutdown. Some of your options in this case are:

Lower the permeate flow setpoint to reduce flux rates and then lower the
MBR Scour Air Setpoint to a level the blowers can accomodate.

Lower the permeate flow setpoint to reduce flux rates and then increase
your Allowable Airflow Deviation %, thus allowing the system to deviate
further from the original setpoint.

Taking basins offline to free up airflow into another basin.

Adjusting airflow setpoints outside of normal recommended limits is risky. You should
first contact your Enviroquip Customer Service Representative before taking such
action.

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My Hach DO probe is not accurate. Do I need to calibrate it?

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The LDO probe does not require field calibration. In most cases, accuracy can be
restored by wiping the probe tip with a clean, soft cloth. The link below will take you to
the Hach Technical Manual Website.

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My permeate pumps do not maintain a prime. Is this a problem?
YES!

The failure to maintain prime is an indication of air leaks into the permeate system. Air
accumulation in the suction side of an MBR header can contribute to the following
issues:

 Unbalanced suction to the membranes, resulting in increased flux rates through


some units and reduced flux rates through others. This variance in load can impact
the cleaning requirements of individual cassettes resulting in a system imbalance
and contributing to potential for a localized dewatering event.
 Delays in establishing permeate flow upon exit of Relax mode thereby reducing the
plants net flux.
 Possible equipment damage resulting from running pumps dry.
 Inaccurate interpretation of the suction pressure due to instabilities introduced via
the compression of entrained air. This can prove very problematic in the calculation
of TMP and Permeability resulting in a general decrease in system performance.
 Magnetic flow tubes are design to operate with pipes full of liquid. The presence of
air can result in unstable readings.
 Entrained air can contribute to water hammer situations and ultimately
piping/equipment failure.

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My plant shut down due to an equipment alarm. How do I restart it?
Some alarms are 'latching', meaning that they remain in place after the alarm condition
is corrected. Pressing the 'alarm reset' button on the HMI will unlatch the alarm and
allow the plant to restart. It is important to remember that once the alarm is reset the
system will probably go into a mode transition scenario. This means there will be a time
delay after resetting the alarm, before things will return to their normal online status.
These mode transitions can take as long as ten minutes. Do Not Panic! If the offending
alarm clears, without re-alarming, and the system is selected to be "Online" then allow
the process to happen.

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If alarms persist and impact the system's ability to come online - address the alarms as
they arise.

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My turbidity transmitter is not working. Do I need to calibrate it?
The Hach turbidity transmitter should be calibrated on a regular schedule. The
frequency of this maintenance requirement will vary depending on site conditions.
However in many cases problems can be corrected by confirming that the lamp in the
sample chamber is not burned out and that the lamp, sample body and detector are
clean. The equipment manual can be found in your Enviroquip IOM or at the Hach
website.

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Recovery Cleaning - definition
An in-situ chemical cleaning lasting between 4hr and 24hr. During a Recovery Cleaning
the Membrane Zone shall be drained and refilled with dilute cleaning solution or the
membranes to be cleaned moved to a dedicated tank. The spent solution shall be
chemically neutralized and combined with plant influent for treatment.

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Relaxation - definition
Temporary suspension of flow while continuing to apply coarse air scouring. For
warranty flux calculations, the assumed relaxation period is 1 minute out of every 10
minutes of permeate operation.

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SCFM - definition
Standard Cubic Feet per Minute (SCFM) is a volumetric flow rate corrected to standard
conditions of gas density, thus representing a precise mass flowrate. SCFM is volumetric
flowrate at a "standardized" pressure, temperature, and relative humidity. However
great care must be taken, as the "standard" conditions vary between definitions, and
should therefore always be checked.

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Seeded - definition
Active biomass (>70% volatile fraction) at a TSS concentration >3,000 mg/l has been
charged to the MBR

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Troubleshooting MBR airflow readings.


Please note that this response assumes your system utilizes a thermal mass sensing
element like the Sierra 620 which is typically installed on Enviroquip MBRs.

If your situation is this - Airflow indication on HMI (or on the local readout of the
sensor) is near maximum, branch airflow valve is not opening as expected and/or
blower is off or at minimum speed, bubble patterns in the MBR are weak or non-
existent (visual flow indications apply to preair basins also) then read on.

Air delivery piping is often installed in situations that can allow condensation to
accumulate inside the pipe. In small quantities it usually goes unnoticed. However if
sufficient condensation develops, and the tip of the thermal mass sensing element gets
wet, your airflow reading will spike high. This false reading will be transmitted to the
PLC which will begin to recalculate blower speed (going lower) and/or valve position
(closing), as it tries to meet its given setpoint. Since the false high signal will not usually
be affected by these changes, the PLC will continue to adjust its outputs lower and
slower until it can go no further. The most serious part of this failure is that systems
which are not programmed to recognize this failure mode can continue to permeate
water in violation of the golden rule for successful MBR operations which is "NEVER
ALLOW PERMEATION WITHOUT PROPER AERATION".

Standard Cubic Feet per Minute (SCFM) is a volumetric flow rate corrected to standard
conditions of gas density, thus representing a precise mass flowrate. SCFM is volumetric
flowrate at a "standardized" pressure, temperature, and relative humidity. However
great care must be taken, as the "standard" conditions vary between definitions, and
should therefore always be checked.

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What are Critical Alarms?
By definition Critical Alarms identify situations within the MBR system that directly
impact the ability of the facility to treat water. Critical Alarms should always be
considered "call outs".

Enviroquip's current Control Specifications identify eleven critical alarms.

1. High TMP
2. Low Permeability
3. Permeate Pump or FCV Failure/Fault
4. MBR Low Level (switch or analog)
5. No Blowers Available or Too Few Blowers Available
6. High Level ("Imminent Overflow", any Basin, switch or analog)
7. MBR Low Air Flow (Low Air Scour)
8. Recycle Pump Failure/Fault
9. Diffuser Cleaning Valve Failure
10. PLC - HMI communication failure
11. PLC not in run mode

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What are the components of a Flat Panel Membrane?

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The Kubota Corporation manufactures flat sheet, thin-film composite membranes


exclusively for use in wastewater treatment applications. Each sheet of membrane
material is made by dipping a non-woven mat of polyethylene terapthalate (PET) into a
solution of chlorinated polyethylene and subsequently allowing the wetted mat to dry.
During the drying process, a thin membrane skin (about 1 micron thick) forms over the
mat with a nominal pore size of 0.4 microns.

Finished sheets of membrane material are cut to size and ultrasonically welded to
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) panels for mechanical support. Inserted between
the membrane and the panel is a polyester spacer material that serves as a plenum to
evenly distribute permeate flow to channels cut into the panel. Each of the channels, or
grooves, terminates at a nozzle on top of the panel. The finished product is referred to as
a membrane cartridge.

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What causes a Trans Membrane Pressure (TMP) Alarm?
High TMP readings can be an indication of the need for Chemical Cleaning. Specifically
the TMP reading is an indication of the pressure required to pull clean water through
the membrane material. A steady increase in TMP (over time) is expected. This is a
result of normal organic or inorganic deposits accumulating on the membranes during
the treatment process. Standard maintenance cleanings will normally restore the TMP
to its original value. Tracking TMP daily is an important part of maintaining your MBR
as the TMP reading is used to calculate system Permeability. Permeability is your best
indication of membrane performance. An inaccurate TMP value will result in a incorrect
Permeability reading.

Rapid increases (over hours or days as opposed to weeks or months) in TMP


can indicate problems. Possibilities include:

 Membrane blinding as the result of influent slugs.


 Air entrapment in permeate piping.
 Low mixed liquor quality.
 Instrumentation problems (Confirm pressure transducer and gauge reading
match).

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What chemical (and concentration) should be used to perform a maintenance
clean?
Chemicals and concentrations can vary by site. Bleach is the chemical most commonly
used for maintenance cleanings as it is highly effective in treating organic deposits.
Inorganic deposits are traditionally treated with Citric and/or Hydrochloric acids. Other
more caustic chemicals have proven beneficial under extreme circumstances.

Identifying the appropriate chemical and dose for the application is easily achieved by
following a standard test procedure available from your EQuipTech Support
Representative. The procedure is designed to test individual membranes, thereby

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reducing chemical use/costs expended when performing large scale tests.

This testing can help establish "normal" cleaning requirements for your facility and
define baselines for historical comparison. Please refer to your plant’s O&M for general
cleaning requirements and contact your EQuipTech Support Representative for
additional details.

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What is Air Scouring?
Mechanical removal of accumulated biological solids from the surface of the submerged
membrane units using rising air/mixed liquor flows between the membrane plates. The
air/mixed liquor flow is the generated from compressed air delivered through course air
diffusers at the base of the submerged membrane.

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What is Biofilm?
Biofilm is a mixture of extracellar material that forms on the surface of a membrane and
provides a porous surface for microorganisms to metabolize the contaminants.

If one were to take a cartridge out of service for examination, a typical biofilm would
appear as a clear thin slime layer covering the membrane surface and having a thickness
on the order of a few microns. Unlike other membrane applications (e.g. tertiary
filtration) any membrane in a mixed liquor environment will be covered with this type
biofilm or cake layer. Moreover, it is the biofilm itself that does most of the filtering,
making the membrane a secondary boundary between the mixed liquor and filtered
effluent (permeate).

Capitalizing on the enhanced filtration provided by biofilm formation, the Kubota


membrane cartridge is able to produce reuse quality water while sustaining high
permeability. A direct result of high permeability is the ability of the Kubota SMU to be
gravity operated. Nearly half of the over 2,000 Kubota installations worldwide operate
in what is called a gravity mode. In gravity mode, roughly two feet of water head above
an SMU can drive design flow (Q) and less than four feet can drive peak flow (2Q)
through a plant.

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What is coarse bubble aeration in an MBR?
(1) Mechanical removal of accumulated biological solids from the surface of the
submerged membrane units using rising air/mixed liquor flows between the membrane
plates. The air/mixed liquor flow is the generated from compressed air delivered
through coarse air diffusers at the base of the submerged membrane.

(2) The Enviroquip MBR utilizes a centipede type diffuser to deliver coarse bubble air to
the membrane plates. While this does add oxygen for use by the biological process, and
design credits are taken for its contribution, its primary function is to scour the flat plate
membranes; removing excess bio-film and helping to ensure stable flux rates. This
"scour air" is absolutely critical in all MBR designs. Standards for the flowrates vary by
system, but it is always a requirement. Because blower operation costs (energy) are a
large part of a facility’s electrical bill, much engineering effort is committed to their
efficient use. Enviroquip’s Control Standard includes a Proportional Airflow Control
Strategy which modifies airflow setpoints based on influent flowrates. Lower flux
demands will result in lower airflow requirements. The golden rule for successful MBR

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operations is "NEVER ALLOW PERMEATION WITHOUT PROPER AERATION".

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What is DeNitrification and where in the process does it happen?
DeNitrification is the biological process whereby nitrates are converted to nitrogen gas.
Certain bacterial species use nitrate as an oxygen source and produce nitrogen gas as a
biproduct through a process called denitrification. Denitrification occurs in an anoxic
environment where these microbes, nitrates, and BOD are present.

Because nitrates can negatively impact local water supplies and environments their
levels in wastewater effluent are often regulated by licensing authorities. DeNitrification
is the biological process by which nitrates are removed from wastewater. It is the result
of certain microorganisms converting existing nitrate (NO3) to nitrogen (N2) and
oxygen (O2) gas. This conversion requires an environment that is very low in or totally
free of oxygen. For our purposes this low oxygen environment in which nitrates are
present is referred to as Anoxic. A separate basin is usually provided for this process. It
is fed from the nitrate rich MBR recycle and raw influent wastewater. Any oxygen
remaining in the MBR recycle flow is quickly depleted as the microorganisms consume
the organic material in the raw wastewater, leaving the contents of the basin anoxic and
thus a suitable environment for the nitrate to nitrogen conversion.

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What is Localized Dewatering?
Simply stated Localized Dewatering is the accumulation of concentrated solids between
membrane plates. The phenomenon occurs in all MBR technologies (flat plate, & hollow
fiber) and is normally the result of mis-operation related to insufficient airflow or RAS
rates. The impact on system performance is the same regardless of membrane type:
reduced flux rates & increased TMP.

Enviroquip is the World's Only MBR equipment provider that has successfully
deployed a system designed to assist in the remediation of Localized Dewatering events.
The Membrane Treatment System (MTS V3) is easily transportable, highly efficient, and
simple to operate. Advances in the design of this system have resulted in a product that
can restore 1 million gallons per day of treatment capacity, per machine.

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What is my DO setpoint?
A standard answer to that question is 2.0 mg/L. This set-point usually allows for
complete nitrification without over aerating which ultimately is a waste of energy.
Additionally this setpoint is sufficient to support process health without usually risking
carry over into the denitrification zones. DO set-point calculations are unique to each
facility and the optimization of DO can have significant positive impacts on energy
consumption.

Systems designed to operate with a simultaneous Nit/DeNit strategy will have two
setpoints. A low (normally 0.2) and a high (normally 0.8). The system's PLC will
monitor and control blowers and valves to cycle between these setpoints and dwell at
each for an operator determined period.

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What is Permeability Control (PC)?
Systems that have a built-in Permeability Control Set-Point should be aware of this
control scheme. Permeability control is a PLC process that adjusts the permeate flow in
an attempt to recover permeability during a periods of reduced treatment capacity.
Instead of shutting the system down in response to this reduced capacity - special
algorithms are employed to keep the system treating water, without risking damage to
the membranes.

There are two different permeability control strategies currently utilized.

1. Upon satisfaction of the PC set-point the PLC will decrease the permeate flow set-
point in predefined steps. The PLC will adjust valve position or pump speed in an
effort to satisfy the adjusted set-point. The logic will constantly monitor for
opportunities to improve the set-point with an ultimate target of returning to
normal flows. Typically MBR airflow set-points will be increased to maximum
values during PC in a effort to improve flux rates.
2. The second strategy is different from the first in that instead of using a stepped
approach, the controls are adjusted proportionally.

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What is proportional airflow?
Proportional airflow is a new energy saving control strategy applied to the scour air
delivery system of the Enviroquip MBR. Aeration demand is calculated by the PLC
based on the number of membrane cartridges in service and three global airflow
setpoints. Air header setpoints are assigned according to the control water level or
influent flow rate. The PLC calculates the air-flow setpoint for each header using this
equation.

Example of Proportional Airflow Settings

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Standard Cubic Feet per Minute (SCFM) is a volumetric flow rate corrected to standard
conditions of gas density, thus representing a precise mass flowrate. SCFM is volumetric
flowrate at a "standardized" pressure, temperature, and relative humidity. However
great care must be taken, as the "standard" conditions vary between definitions, and
should therefore always be checked.

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What is Q for my Plant?
Q is an indication of your facility's design flow set-point. It is a calculated value based on
the number of membranes, the square footage of treatment area, and the Flux Rate
defined for your plant.

Use the following equation to determine the plant design permeate flow:

Total #SMUs x #Cartridges per SMU x Flux x 8.61/1440 x (1.1 or 1.2 or 1.3 to account for
relax time in minutes) = Plant Q

If your plant has 3 flow set-points they are probably set to:

Low Flow .5 Q

Normal Q

Peak 2Q

See your Enviroquip Warranty Sheet for plant specifics

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What is SCADA?
SCADA is the acronym for Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition. The term refers to a large-scale,
distributed measurement (and control) system. SCADA systems are used to monitor or to control chemical
or transport processes, in municipal water supply systems, to control electric power generation,
transmission and distribution, gas and oil pipelines, and other distributed processes.

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What is sludge filterability?

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Filterability is a measurement of sludge quality. It is a good indicator of your sludge's


potential impact on membrane performance and cleaning requirements. Testing
procedures are simple flow/time. There is a special filter paper requirement needed for
this test. Weekly testing is highly recommended for MBR facilities and is typically
considered a requirement for Enviroquip MBR System Warranties.

The current test procedure and a supply of paper can be obtained through your
EQuipTech Support Representative. They can be contacted via the EQuipTech hotline at
512-652-5848 or at EQuipTech@glv.com.

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What is Symbio?
For applications within the United States, we have coupled our proprietary SymBio®
technology for simultaneous nitrification and denitrification (SNdN) with the MBR
technology. This combination is proposed for plants designed to meet stringent nutrient
removal requirements such as 3-5 ppm TN. Low total nitrogen levels are achieved by
using a simultaneous nitrification and denitrification concept in conjunction with the
conventional concept of recyle to a pre-anoxic basin from the MBR. Use of SymBio®
process results in lower aeration energy consumption for the MBR process and also
lowers the internal recycle requirement for denitrification to the anoxic zones. More
info

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What is the impact of wax on membrane performance?
Excessive wax, like fats, oils and greases (FOG) can foul membrane material
temporarily, or permanently, reducing membrane capacity. Enviroquip's
recommendations are that the influent concentration of FOG (wax) should not exceed
20% of measured biochemical oxygen demand (BOD). However, we do have experience
with school applications where wax concentrations can be very high during summer
maintenance work and procedures have been developed to minimize wax impact.

Should wax concentrations exceed the calculated maximum value, additional bleach
cleaning and or addition MPE50 may be required. In some cases it may be advisable to
haul wax laden influent to a conventional plant to avoid additional cleaning and or a
reduction in membrane capacity.

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What is the MAP to MBR Success?
The Enviroquip MAP to MBR Success is a simple tool for remembering the necessary
steps for ensuring long term successful operations of your flat plate MBR system.

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MAP To MBR Success

Monitor and Trend


Monitoring and reviewing trend data for the following items will provide
insight to a systems health and performance.
• Permeability
• TMP
• Air Scour Rate
• MLSS
• Filterability
• Diffuser Clean Cycles
• MLSS
• Filterability
• Diffuser Clean Cycles

Act
• Perform a membrane Maintenance Cleaning if TMP increases by 1.0 psi at
a given flow (pick one) or permeability drops below 10gfd/psi. Remember
the maximum TMP is 3.0 psig.
• Never allow filtration without aeration. No exceptions. Low air at low flux
is okay at high permeability.
• Immediately and properly respond to Critical Alarms.
• Keep MBR MLSS concentration at or below 15, 000 mg/L unless otherwise
instructed.
• Keep diffusers clean at all times by extending cleaning time or cleaning
more frequently, if necessary. Clean for 10 min/day as a minimum.

Prepare
Post a detailed plan listing Critical Alarms and how to respond to each
alarm.
• High TMP
• Low Permeability
• Permeate Pump or FCV Failure/Fault
• MBR Low Level
• No Blowers Available (or too few blowers available)
• High High Level (Imminent Overflow)
• MBR Low Air Flow
• Recycle Pump Failure
• Diffuser Clean Valve Failure
• HMI/PLC Communications Failure

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What is Turbidity?
Turbidity is a measure of the cloudiness of water- the cloudier the water, the greater the turbidity.
Turbidity in water is caused by suspended matter such as clay, silt, and organic matter and by
plankton and other microscopic organisms that interfere with the passage of light through the
water (American Public Health Association, 1998). Turbidity is closely related to total suspended
solids (TSS).

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Nephelometric turbidity unit (NTU) is a measure of the clarity of water. Turbidity in


excess of 5 NTU is just noticeable to the average person. MBR effluent is around .04
to .08 NTU.

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What MLSS should we being running in the MBR.
MBRs operate at substantially higher MLSS concentrations than conventional
wastewater treatment facilities. Normal operation is typically greater than 8,000mg/L
and lower than 15,000mg/L. It is important to remember that increasing the MLSS
above your plant's design set-point has carry over effects on different systems. DO, SRT,
Flux Rates and Wasting Schedules are some of the factors effected by deviations in
MLSS. Finding the "Sweet Spot" for your facility is important to ensuring long term
trouble free operations.

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When I try to manually operate a valve actuator it returns to its previous
position as soon as I release the manual override knob. How can I get the valve
to hold its position?
It is very likely that your PLC still wants to control the valve position. If you need to
operate in manual, and cannot keep the override knob from releasing, it will be
necessary to disconnect the valve power supply. Often this can be accomplished by
opening the fused terminal block (in the control panel) supplying the valve. Please
remember that only Authorized and Qualified personnel should perform electrical tasks.

Important - please note that using a cheater bar to move your actuator/valve will likely
result in costly damage to the equipment.

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When is it appropriate to use Acid for a membrane cleaning?
If normal Maintenance Cleans using bleach, which targets organic deposits, do not fully
recover membrane performance, then other options can be considered. Iron and
calcium deposits are common in many parts of the country and over time can contribute
to reduced flux rates. Hydrochloric and Citric acid cleanings can be excellent tools for
the restoration of flux rates when such inorganic fouling is suspected. Your Enviroquip
Customer Service Representative can provide a procedure for testing individual
membranes for response to different cleaning chemicals and concentrations. The test is
simple and can save time and money by optimizing your cleaning efforts.

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Why do I sometimes experience a failure to permeate after a diffuser cleaning
Cycle.
Positive confirmation of coarse airflow to the MBR is critical to its operation. Various
permissives are monitored in the PLC program to ensure that there is never an
opportunity for the MBR to permeate without airflow to the cassettes. One of these
permissives is "Diffuser Clean Valve (DCV) Closed". This input to the PLC comes from a
limit switch in the DCV actuator. If, after performing the cleaning operation, the DCV
does not indicate fully closed, the system will not be allowed to return to an online
status. There is typically an alarm "Diffuser Clean Valve Failed to Close" indicating this
condition. A visual inspection of the valve position is recommended. Often the actuator
is closed, but not quite enough to generate the switched signal. Manually closing the
valve slightly can resolve the issue.

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This is a very important alarm / subsystem. Do not ignore it.

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Why do we recycle sludge and what is the appropriate flow rate?
Constant recirculation of MLSS, and its subsequent mixing with new influent flow, is
critical to sludge health and treatment process success. Recycle flow carries Mixed
Liquor through each treatment phase ensuring opportunities for Nit/DeNit, Bio-P, food
distribution, and ultimately treatment in the MBR.

Generally, the recycle rate should be 3 to 6 times Q. However, the specific value may be
determined by the original plant design or may be operator optimized to satisfy the
plant’s operating environment.

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