A laboratory scale membrane bioreactor (MBR) fed on real septic tank effluent was studied at different levels of alkalinity (0, 250 and 500 mg NaHCO3/L addition) and sludge retention time (SRT, complete sludge retention, 10 and 20 days). A long-term operation of 267 days was divided into 5 stages to examine the SRT and alkalinity influences on parameters related to nitrification, chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal, extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) production and membrane cleaning. The results of the study showed that the removals of TCOD, SCOD and NH4+-N varied between 86-94%, 7 1-86%, and 70-94%, respectively. Appropriate alkalinity supplement and SRT control can enhance the COD removal and nitrification. Irreversible membrane fouling occurred fast and water cleaning for the improvement of filtration capacity was ineffective. The results also revealed that the rejection of EPS played a major role both in the enhancement of removal efficiency as well as the increase of filtration resistance during the operation.