The project has been developed within the RIS3CAT framework program promoted by the ACCIÓ Department of the GENERALITAT DE CATALUNYA financed with its own funds, bank credits and partially from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

Ms. Carmen Castelao Salvador: Executive project director, attached to General Manager of Biología y Filtración, S.L.

Dr. Martí Crespi Rosell: Technical Director of the project. Director of the Environmental Pollution Control Laboratory of INTEXTER, entity of the UPC (Polytechnic University of Catalonia).

Engineer Mr. Josep Petit Mitjans: Deputy Technical Director. Emeritus emgineer.

Engineer Mr. Jordi Pont Salido and Dra. Xuefei Yang: Responsible for the operations and control of the pilot plants.

Dr. Mercedes Vilaseca Valvé: Consultant, deputy director of the INTEXTER Environmental Pollution Control Laboratory (UPC)

Dr. Víctor López-Grimau: Consultant, professor at the UPC and collaborator of INTEXTER (UPC).



The company BIOLOGÍA Y FILTRACIÓN, SL, (BIO-FIL)®, in collaboration with INTEXTER (UPC) has developed a new biological treatment system for municipal and industrial wastewater, through which a totally reusable quality of water is obtained, in the case of municipal waters and in most of the waters coming from industrial processes. The study has been developed in the Municipal Treatment Plant of the city of Manresa (Barcelona) treating in parallel the same waters as the real plant. In the case of industrial wastewater, the water came from a textile finishing industry.



In urban wastewater, the object of the study and development of the new technology was to find out what increase in organic load (flow m3 x KgBOD/day) could treat an existing treatment plant that operates with traditional treatment systems (activated sludge or sequential system), without the need to add new civil works. In the case of newly built domestic wastewater plants, the aim was to find out what reduction in space (surface-volume) can be achieved with this new system compared to traditional ones.

In the case of wastewater from a textile industry, it consisted of studying the extent to which the organic load and the color can be eliminated at the same time, in order to obtain reusable water quality for new dyeing processes.



The new wastewater treatment system for reuse called AEMBBR-MBR® is an innovative biological system in the world of domestic and industrial wastewater, where moving bed technologies (MBBR) and the membrane bioreactor system (MBR) both well tested.

The studies have been carried out in two pilot plants built for the purpose of the study. In the case of municipal water, pilot plant 1, a plant has been built at a scale of 1/27,500 (twenty-seven thousand five hundred), based on the data supplied by the company that operates the water treatment plant itself in Manresa. For the design of this pilot plant, the data on flows and average organic loads treated during the year 2017 were taken at the Manresa WWTP. The pilot plants are made up of two reactors, anoxic and hybrid biological (AEMBBR-MBR®), as seen in the initial diagram.

In the study of industrial wastewater, a pilot plant 2 was built with a size 50% smaller than plant 1 since the flows to be treated were much lower. This plant was operated by a person with a degree in textile engineering Xuefei Yang and served to Obtain your doctorate degree with degree of excellence.



The AEMBBR-MBR® system consists of unifying the moving bed (MBBR) and membrane bioreactor (MBR) systems into one.

The first system (MBBR) consists of introducing an active sludge system, plastic media designed for this purpose, manufactured and patented by BIO-FIL®, where colonies of bacteria accumulate that favor the degradation of organic matter and the transformation of nitrogenous components. (NH, NO and NO2) in N gas and water. This increase in biomass concentration in the reactor is what makes it possible to treat the aforementioned increase in organic load. But it needs a clarification system, a traditional decanter or a DAF float

The second system (MBR) consists of also introducing a set of ultrafiltration membranes into an activated sludge system, which also allows a higher organic load to be treated by itself due to the fact that a higher concentration of biomass is also achieved (up to 15- 20 g/l) due to the barrier that the membranes constitute on the sludge, eliminating secondary settling, which is not achieved in a conventional system due to the limitation of quality in the clarification system.

With this new system, two objectives are achieved: a much higher sludge age that allows a greater treatment capacity of the order of 3-5 times, retains the so-called emerging contaminants (disjunctive switches, drugs, drug residues, practically 100% of bacteria and a significant percentage of viruses). In the case of industrial water, it is also possible to eliminate 99% of the color.

The water that was treated in the pilot plant 1 came from the overflow of the primary decanter of the real plant, that is, free of fats and solids, the same water that was treated in the biological systems of the said plant. The water from the textile industry arrived through tanks taken from the equalisation tank of the textile plant. In the case studied, successive dyeing processes have been carried out with total success with the treated water.



The total cost of the project was 324,700 Euros (three hundred twenty-four thousand seven hundred), including the purchase of pilot plants, purchase of equipment, consumables and personnel costs. To carry out the study, a middle-grade engineer was hired exclusively for the project. Of this amount a small part was subsidized from ERDF funds, through ACCIÓ (Generalitat de Catalunya), which has been partially collected; the rest of the cost has been financed through own funds and bank loans.

The duration of the study has been 30 months, it began in January 2019 and ended in March 2021. The expected duration was 24 months, but due to various interruptions due to storms Gloria and Filomena, the water we received from the primary decantation of the Manresa treatment plant contained sludge and residue that reached the plant from storm surges.

Finally, the execution of the project has been a success, as we see in the following conclusions.



  1. in pilot plant 1, the following results have been achieved: Treatment capacity 3.8 times higher in equivalence than that currently treated by the Manresa municipal WWTP.
  2. 99% removal of BOD5 (organic load) and NTK (total nitrogen) both <10 ppm. Color removal 98,5%
  3. Turbidity < 2.5 NTU.
  4. Surface-volume to be occupied in the new plant. reduction of 50% minimum.
  5. The water obtained is completely reusable, without the need to add any type of chemical reagent.
  6. Reusable for recharging aquifers, street cleaning, car wash stations, sanitation of areas contaminated by fertilizers, such as the Manga del Mar Menor, the Albufera de Valencia, wetlands and lakes and lagoons in general, such as Lake Titicaca .
  7. Electrical energy savings have been estimated at 30-35%.
  8. In industrial wastewater, it can be totally or partially reused for successive production processes, depending on the type of water, in some cases a reverse osmosis and/or disinfection system would be necessary.
  9. The complete work will be published shortly on our website, https://www.bio-fil.es


Samples of raw water and water treated by AEMBBR-MBR®

Municipal water before and after treatment

Textile water before and after treatment



Dyeing with the usual water used daily in the factory for cotton dyeing.




Thanks to

Consorcio de Aguas de Manresa

Depuradora de Aguas de Manresa.

Dr. Martin Crespi Rosell.

Dra. Mercedes Vilaseca Valví

Dr. Victor López Grimau

Josep Petit BIO-FIL S.L.