Publications Details
Publications Details



Author: M. Vanossi, F. Durante and D. Setti

Year: 2009

Publisher: European Water Resources Association (EWRA)


Membrane bioreactors (MBR) with submerged membrane modules have set the standard for the next generation of biological wastewater treatment plants as they offer two main advantages; a significantly improved effluent quality and a substantially smaller footprint. Besides the huge application in industrial wastewater treatment there are many municipal applications where MBR technology is being implemented. An example is the Bega Valley Sewerage Program (BWSP) in Australia which includes state-of-the-art MBR plants. Bega Valley is located on the southeastern coastline of New South Wales (about 450 km south of Sydney). It includes the towns of Cobargo, Wolumla, Kalaru and Candelo. The capacity of the valley’s wastewater treatment systems was being stretched by urban growth and by seasonal population increases during the holiday period. Some unsewered villages in the valley were at risk for environmental and public health issues caused by discharge from septic tanks. In order to maintain Australia’s Environment Protection Authority compliance and to enhance environmental outcomes, the Bega Valley Shire Council developed the Bega Valley Sewerage Program, which includes the installation of new pressurized sewage collection systems coupled with membrane bioreactor (MBR) treatment plants in the towns of Cobargo, Wolumla, Kalaru and Candelo. Each plant has a footprint of approximately 20 x 15 meters. The Cobargo MBR plant was commissioned in July 2006. The remaining three plants followed in 2007. The entire program is designed to keep capital and operating costs at a minimum and
to produce a very high quality effluent for reuse. Reclaimed water from the MBR plants will be used in an irrigation scheme on public facilities such as the Cobargo Showground, Wolumla Recreation Reserve, Candelo Showground and the Sapphire Coast Turf Club, replacing potable water as the primary source. In future, reclaimed water may also be used for toilet flushing and to provide a vehicle wash down facility. This paper describes the design features of the four MBR plants as well as commissioning and operating results; furthermore, it explains how this design can be implemented in other rural areas around the world.