What Is MBBR In Wastewater Treatment

by Anna

In the realm of wastewater treatment, various technologies and methodologies are employed to efficiently remove contaminants and render the water safe for discharge or reuse. One such innovative approach gaining traction in recent years is the Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR). This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of MBBR, its principles, applications, advantages, and challenges in wastewater treatment processes.

Principles of MBBR in wastewater treatment

MBBR is a biological treatment process that utilizes a combination of attached and suspended growth principles to remove organic and inorganic pollutants from wastewater. At its core, MBBR consists of a reactor filled with plastic carriers where a biofilm forms. This biofilm serves as a habitat for microorganisms responsible for biodegradation.


The plastic carriers, typically made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), provide a large surface area for microbial attachment and growth. As wastewater flows through the reactor, organic pollutants are metabolized by the microbial community present in the biofilm. Additionally, some microorganisms remain in suspension, contributing to the degradation process.


Key Components and Configuration

An MBBR system comprises several key components, including the reactor vessel, plastic media carriers, aeration system, and settler or clarifier. The reactor vessel houses the plastic media carriers, ensuring proper contact between wastewater and the biofilm. The aeration system supplies oxygen to support aerobic microbial activity within the biofilm.


The plastic media carriers, often in the form of small discs or cylinders, are designed to have a high surface area-to-volume ratio, facilitating microbial colonization. These carriers are randomly packed within the reactor, creating a dynamic environment for microbial growth and substrate utilization.


Wastewater enters the reactor and comes into contact with the biofilm-covered media carriers. As organic matter is degraded, the treated water undergoes clarification in a settler or clarifier unit, separating biomass and suspended solids from the effluent.

Applications of MBBR in wastewater treatment

MBBR technology finds widespread applications across various industries and settings, including municipal wastewater treatment plants, industrial facilities, and decentralized systems. Some common applications include:

Municipal Wastewater Treatment: MBBR systems are employed in municipal wastewater treatment plants to enhance organic matter removal, nitrogen and phosphorus removal, and overall treatment efficiency.

Industrial Wastewater Treatment: Industries generating organic-rich wastewater, such as food processing, pharmaceuticals, and chemical manufacturing, utilize MBBR technology for effective pollutant removal.

Upgrading Existing Treatment Plants: MBBR systems can be integrated into existing treatment plants as a cost-effective solution to increase treatment capacity, improve effluent quality, or meet regulatory requirements.

Advantages of MBBR in wastewater treatment

The adoption of MBBR technology offers several advantages over conventional wastewater treatment methods:

High Treatment Efficiency: MBBR systems exhibit high removal efficiencies for organic pollutants, nutrients, and various contaminants due to the robust microbial community within the biofilm.

Compact Footprint: The compact design of MBBR systems, coupled with the high surface area provided by the plastic media carriers, allows for significant space savings compared to traditional treatment processes.

Operational Flexibility: MBBR systems can adapt to fluctuations in wastewater flow and composition, providing operational flexibility and stability in treatment performance.

Reduced Sludge Production: Since MBBR operates on a biofilm-based process, it typically generates less excess sludge compared to activated sludge systems, reducing the need for sludge handling and disposal.

Easy Retrofitting: MBBR technology can be easily retrofitted into existing treatment plants without extensive modifications, offering a cost-effective solution for plant upgrades.

Challenges and Considerations in wastewater treatment

While MBBR technology offers numerous benefits, several challenges and considerations must be addressed for successful implementation:

Biofilm Management: Proper management of the biofilm is essential to maintain treatment efficiency and prevent biofilm detachment or fouling, which can impact system performance.

Oxygen Transfer: Adequate oxygen transfer is crucial for supporting aerobic microbial activity within the biofilm. Effective aeration system design and operation are necessary to ensure optimal oxygen levels throughout the reactor.

Media Clogging: The plastic media carriers may become clogged over time due to biomass accumulation or debris deposition, necessitating periodic cleaning or replacement to maintain hydraulic performance.

Nutrient Limitations: In some cases, nutrient limitations (e.g., nitrogen or phosphorus) may inhibit microbial activity and nutrient removal efficiency. Supplemental nutrient addition may be required to address these limitations.

Operational Monitoring and Control: Regular monitoring of key parameters such as dissolved oxygen, ammonia, and nitrate concentrations is essential for assessing system performance and making necessary adjustments to optimize treatment efficiency.

See Also   What Can Cause A Sewer Smell In The House


Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR) technology offers a versatile and efficient solution for wastewater treatment across various applications. By harnessing the synergistic effects of attached and suspended growth processes, MBBR systems can achieve high removal efficiencies for organic and inorganic pollutants while offering operational flexibility and space-saving benefits. However, successful implementation requires careful consideration of design parameters, operational practices, and maintenance requirements to ensure optimal performance and long-term sustainability in wastewater treatment operations.

You may also like


Our Mechanical Center is a mechanical portal. The main columns include general machineryinstrumentationElectrical Equipmentchemical equipment, environmental protection equipment, knowledge, news, etc.

Copyright © 2023