MBBR: one technology, many applications

Moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) technology is well known in the wastewater treatment industry as an effective small footprint solution for removing ammonia, nitrogen and biological oxygen demand (BOD).

We were early pioneers of the technology, and have worked with customers at over 900 sites globally to help successfully deliver projects incorporating our AnoxKaldnes™ MBBR process. However, you may not be aware of the diverse range of MBBR applications that exist, perhaps having only encountered the treatment in one particular context and we wanted to take the time to introduce you to key areas where this technology is having an impact.

Listening to customers, responding with innovation

We have continually invested in R&D to meet the demand for a reliable and highly efficient biological treatment. Customer feedback on existing solutions in the market has helped to guide our focus, ensuring our efforts address genuine customer needs. One example of this is the development of Hybas Fusion™. Hybas Fusion™ is our new modular IFAS solution designed to increase the performance of existing activated sludge plants for both municipal and industrial wastewater.

Delivered in pre-fabricated units, it provides a flexible and modular solution for easy retrofit to upgrade existing plants, reducing onsite installation and commissioning time and minimising risk. Hybas Fusion™ crucially retains the ability to control the biofilm growth that is an inherent benefit of a moving media MBBR solution. 

Our second innovation on traditional MBBR technology is ANITA™ Mox, which has been developed to treat water streams with a high ammonia content harnessing annamox bacteria. This technology is specifically geared towards treating the reject water from anaerobic digestion in municipal wastewater treatment works, and we were delighted to have our first UK project using this technology in construction with Welsh Water and Mott Macdonald Bentley.

Cost-effective upgrade solution

An area where MBBR has great potential is to provide a pretreatment upstream of the existing secondary treatment process such as activated sludge plant or trickling filters. Where the existing treatment struggles with process load, but is not asset life limited, installing a roughing MBBR upstream to reduce additional load provides a low cost upgrade solution.

Utilizing the benefits of the MBBR technology for tertiary ammonia removal is an application that Veolia has pioneered with the first plant being commissioned in 2012.This plant has achieved an average performance of 0.8mg/l NH4 95%ile over the past 5 years. We are currently delivering nine new tertiary MBBR plants in the UK to achieve performance of between 5mg/l and 1mg/l NH4. .

Reducing on site construction time and enhancing flexibility is a key driver and our MBBR Pack unit has been designed to meet this requirement. Our units provide all the advantages of a conventional MBBR system, in a standard prefabricated package. With its plug & play function, the technology is quick and easy to install.


William Jeal

About the Author

William Jeal

William has a background of working with a wide range of industrial, public sector and municipal customers. William's career in the water sector started with a start up services business focused on working with commercial, industrial and public sector organisations to manage their water and wastewater usage, costs and environmental compliance. Having grown and developed this business for 5 years William then joined Veolia Water Technologies in 2015 to focus on growing its wastewater technologies activities in the Municipal market. In 2019 William took responsibility for leading Veolia's Municipal Services Business as well as its Digital Services Business across all sectors in the UK. With a strong focus on commercial and service innovation William has been responsible for a number of development projects including involvement in the development of Veolia’s global AQUAVISTA platform of real time control and optimization services.