Instructor: Harlan Bengtson

Board: Iowa Professional Licensing Bureau

Credit Hours: 2.00
15 ratings

Approval Number: PACE-0476

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Course Description

This course, intended primarily for civil engineers, environmental engineers, and chemical engineers, includes a general description of and background information about the MBR (membrane bioreactor) wastewater treatment process. Also included is discussion of process design calculations for the membrane module used in an MBR system, and for an MBR aeration tank to provide BOD removal and nitrification, and for a pre-anoxic tank to go with an MBR BOD removal/nitrification system to provide denitrification. Example calculations and examples illustrating the setup and use of an Excel spreadsheet for making the process design calculations are also included.

Biological wastewater treatment is very widely used for removal of biodegradable materials from wastewater. This course is about a particular type of biological wastewater treatment process, the membrane bioreactor (MBR) process. An MBR process uses an aeration tank similar to those used in the activated sludge process, combined with membrane filtration as a replacement for secondary sedimentation. This combination can produce a very high quality effluent, typically with a more compact reactor than conventional activated sludge, but requires a higher rate of aeration than conventional activated sludge in order to keep the membranes from fouling. The current typical MBR process configuration uses a membrane module submerged in the aeration tank. This course, includes background information about the process and a description of the process, as well as process design calculations for several different configurations of the MBR process and numerous example calculations.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the participant will be able to:
  • Describe the components of and general configuration of an MBR wastewater treatment process.
  • List the advantages and disadvantages of an MBR wastewater treatment process in comparison with a conventional activated sludge process.
  • Describe the type of pretreatment typically required for an MBR wastewater treatment process.
  • Carry out process design calculations to determine the required membrane area, membrane module volume and scouring air flow rate for an MBR process.
  • Carry out process design calculations for a BOD removal/nitrification MBR process in order to determine the required aeration tank volume, sludge wasting rate, air flow rate, and alkalinity addition.
  • Carry out process design calculations for a Pre-Anoxic Denitrification MBR process in order to determine the required pre-anoxic tank volume, the reduced oxygen/air requirement, the reduced alkalinity requirement, the anoxic tank mixing power needed, and the sludge wasting rate.

Instructor Bio

Dr. Bengtson is a graduate of Iowa State University with B.S. and M.S. degrees and of the University of Colorado with a PhD. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Missouri. He has spent 30 years in engineering education in teaching and administrative positions, including six years as Dean of Engineering at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. His areas of expertise are environmental engineering, hydrology and hydraulics, engineering science and renewable energy systems. He did consulting work while holding the academic positions. Prior to entering academia, Dr. Bengtson worked for Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing as a Product Development Engineer and for E. I. duPont deNemours as a Process Development Engineer. Dr. Bengtson has authored numerous publications, presentations and technical reports. He is currently active in providing continuing education opportunities for Professional Engineers and is the founder of and, sites with the objective of providing inexpensive, easy to use Excel spreadsheets for a variety of engineering calculations.

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