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Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR) vs. Conventional Activated Sludge System (CAS)

By: Tom Frankel
Post Date: January 26th 2022

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Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR) vs. Conventional Activated Sludge System (CAS)

Communities and ecosystems around the world rely on wastewater treatment for healthy, clean water. Clean water is essential for both municipal and industrial use. It also helps reduce the transmission of diseases and ensures a sustainable, thriving environment for the generations to come. 

One of the best ways to accomplish wastewater cleaning is through various aeration processes that work to remove dangerous substances from the water. What these processes leave behind is clean, healthy water that municipalities and businesses can safely release back into the environment. Two common water cleaning systems that organizations must choose between are the conventional activated sludge (CAS) system and the moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) system. 

 

Table Of Contents

  1. Parts of a CAS System
  2. Benefits of CAS System
  3. Cons of CAS System
  4. Parts of an MBBR System
  5. Benefits of MBBR System
  6. Cons of MBBR
  7. MBBR Compared to Traditional Wastewater Treatment
  8. How Organizations Determine Which System Is Right for Them
  9. Contact the Experts at SSI Aeration, Inc. to Determine What System Is Right for You

Parts of a CAS System

The conventional activated sludge system is one of the most common processes of aeration for treating wastewater. Also called the traditional activated sludge system, this process has been around for over a hundred years, making it a tried and true method of cleaning water. The CAS process relies on microorganisms and aeration to separate sludge from the water. Several components and parts are necessary to make the CAS system work. 

Various models of the CAS process exist, each with its own specific steps. Despite these differences across the various types of activated sludge processes, most CAS models — and many other systems of wastewater management — use many of the same standard parts and processes.

Parts-of-a-CAS

An activated sludge system works by incorporating the following parts and processes:

Benefits of CAS System

Benefits of CAS System

Every wastewater treatment plant can enjoy the benefits of an activated sludge system. Here are a few of the pros of CAS systems:

Cons of CAS System

Cons of CAS System

Despite the apparent advantages of CAS systems, there are some disadvantages of the activated sludge process. The following list contains the cons of this classical wastewater treatment method:

Parts of an MBBR System

While MBBR wastewater treatment is one of the more recent systems to arrive on the scene, it’s quickly solidified its place in the industry.

Parts of an MBBR System

Developed and perfected in the late 1900s, MBBR is a form of wastewater treatment that utilizes a moving bed biofilm reactor. This system has its own unique parts and processes compared to other treatment methods. 

The parts below reveal how MBBR works to clean dirty influent water and produce effluent that’s safe for reuse or release into the environment.

Basin

At the start of the MBBR process, the influent enters the basin which is also called the aeration tank or the reactor. It is in this open-topped tank that small microorganisms will break down solids in the water. The microorganisms are better able to accomplish this task thanks to two other critical components of the system: the media and the aeration grid. These components together allow the basin to be the sole part of the system where the majority of the wastewater treatment occurs. 

Media

One of the more unique parts of MBBR design is the presence of media. Many people also refer to media as carriers because they “carry” the microorganisms throughout the basin. Media are small plastic pieces that increase the surface area within the water on which microorganisms can grow. And since pieces of media have a similar density to the water around them, they easily float through the water and disperse throughout the basin. 

As the media move around the wastewater, the microorganisms have the opportunity to contact and break down more organic waste and clean the water for reintroduction into the environment. 

Organizations in the process of MBBR media calculation must choose from the following list of standard types:

Aeration Grid

The aeration grid is a critical part of every MBBR wastewater treatment system. This component serves a dual purpose. First, it injects oxygen into the basin. The microorganisms feed off this oxygen and begin multiplying. The thriving of the microorganisms thanks to this injection of oxygen from the aeration grid is what allows the MBBR system to adequately break down organic waste in the water. 

The second purpose of the aeration grid is to move the media around the tank. As the oxygen injects into the basin, it creates movement within the wastewater. This movement sends the media throughout the tank, allowing the microorganisms to spread throughout and decompose more of the organic solids. 

Sieve

The sieve is another aspect of MBBR wastewater treatment. This crucial component is large enough to let water pass through it yet small enough to prohibit the microorganisms from escaping. This allows the microorganisms to continue their waste breakdown process for each subsequent load of influent. 

Benefits of MBBR System

Benefits of MBBR System

Thanks to their modern design and intuitive features, MBBR wastewater systems provide many benefits to organizations, industrial plants and municipalities alike. The following list contains some of the pros of MBBR wastewater treatment:

Cons of MBBR

Cons of MBBR

MBBR systems have plenty of benefits that make them appealing for any entity in need of wastewater treatment. However, all systems come with their own list of potentially negative factors, depending on the user’s needs. Any company or group considering an MBBR system for their wastewater treatment should consider the following concerns:

MBBR Compared to Traditional Wastewater Treatment

MBBR Compared to Traditional Wastewater Treatment

As a newer method for wastewater treatment, MBBR has several unique characteristics that may not be present in more classic wastewater treatment systems. Yet it’s important to remember that CAS and MBBR are separate types of systems. While one is not technically better than the other, one type may be better for an organization depending on their needs, restrictions and desires.

The following points recount the differences between conventional activated sludge and MBBR:

How Organizations Determine Which System Is Right for Them

How Organizations Determine Which System Is Right for Them

When a municipality, organization or business needs to clean their wastewater, they have to ensure they’re choosing the system that best suits their needs. The first step is to know how the various types of wastewater differ from one another. The following list includes some of the most common industry wastewater types:

A few other factors exist that organizations must take into consideration when choosing their wastewater treatment plan. These include the following:

Contact the Experts at SSI Aeration, Inc. to Determine What System Is Right for You

Contact the Experts at SSI Aeration, Inc. to Determine What System Is Right for You

SSI Aeration, Inc. has been helping organizations across industries treat their wastewater for safe reuse or release into the environment since its founding in 1995 in Poughkeepsie, New York. Their wastewater treatment systems consist of high-quality materials so you can feel confident in your installation. SSI Aeration, Inc. continues its tradition of helping organizations clean their wastewater so they can stay regulation-compliant and help keep the environment is safer and cleaner for generations to come. 

Contact SSI Aeration, Inc. today for more information on how they can meet your wastewater treatment needs.