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MBBR ETP in India

By: Tom Frankel
Post Date: Maggio 29th 2018

Post Tags: Case Studies,



On a recent sales call for an MBBR ETP in India with a company has been selling MBBR ETP media but not MBBR process engineering packaged with equipment, we had a discussion which went like this:

SSI:  How do you decide how much media to use? How do you decide which media to choose?

MEDIA SALESMAN:  We base it on a customer’s budget.

SSI:  Can you estimate what % fill that usually works out to?

MEDIA SALESMAN:  Usually it is around 15%.




Media is a good place to start when designing a new MBBR ETP reactor in India. We need to know the media and its SALR or surface area loading rate.  Some chip type media with very fine pores may have a very high surface area but that often comes with a very low SALR.  If you were to place that media into a reactor in a typical Indian MBBR ETP in a place like Delhi, Mumbai, or Tirapur, and you designed based on conventional approaches (say with a SALR of ~ 12) but the SALR of that media was only 2, you would have dramatically undersized your plant.

There are many cases in the world where planning on the client’s part creates an opening for commercial tricks by vendors.  Say you have a textile ETP you want to build in South India at a factory which is growing, so the textile client decides to base the design of the new plant on year 2025 flows which is project to be twice today’s loads.  If you were sold the chip media in the example above, you might not know that you had a problem for years, long after any warranties or guarantees have expired!

There are media that work better where we expect fouling-prone environments. There are media that are less prone to blowing away onto the neighbor’s plot when it foams and the winds pick up. Imagine that problem in a densely populated city in India like Chennai or Kolkata!

Fine bubble diffusers can work well in an MBBR ETP but you need to understand minimum mixing rates.  These are well documented and SSI can help as a leading worldwide manufacturer of diffused aeration systems.  However many MBBR providers will give coarse bubble diffusers, spiral roll systems or design blowers without turndown to save energy. Energy can be expensive in India. We respect your cost of ownership.

And there are correct approaches to adding the media and starting up the process – you don’t just pour it in on Day 1.




When your daughter grows up, is it your dream for her to become a Google Doctor?   Have you stopped going to the real doctor because you can self-diagnose all of your ailments on Google?

If you value expertise gained from years of study and experience,  SSI could be your best choice for MBBR and IFAS systems.  Here is a link to some of our colleagues’ historical fixed-film research work.

The internet is a great tool to enhance your knowledge so that you can ask more intelligent questions of your vendors.   That’s why SSI provides open access to most of our design tools on our technology portal.  Indian citizens are regular users of this free SSI service.

But MBBR requires proper mixing, proper media selection and calculations, retention screen design, and solids handling equipment.   Often engaging an expert like SSI reduces your cost because you may be able to do the job in a smaller area saving land and civil costs.  You will likely avoid guesswork and design mistakes, which can be costly to correct.


Textile ETP Wastewater Before Treatment

Textile ETP Wastewater Before Treatment


Media with Biofilm in an ETP

Media with Biofilm in an ETP


SSI can cooperate flexibly with your contractor.  For one MBBR ETP project in India recently, we agreed on local sources for most of the equipment, handled the design through a collaborative process between our US and Hyderabad, India based teams, and together with the contractor, we delivered a cost-competitive MBBR bid to the Indian client which has turned into an order.  Get your process started here.