In a wastewater treatment system and process utilizing membrane bioreactors (MBRs), multiple, parallel series of tanks or stages each include, an MBR stage. Under conditions of normal flow volume into the system, influent passes through several parallel series of stages or process lines, which might be, for example, an anoxic stage, an aeration stage and an MBR stage. From the MBR stages a portion of M.L.S.S. is cycled through one or more thickening MBRs of similar process lines, for further thickening and further processing and digesting of the sludge, while a majority portion of the M.L.S.S. is recycled back into the main process lines. During peak flow conditions, such as storm conditions in a combined storm water/wastewater system, all of the series of stages with their thickening MBRs are operated in parallel to accept the peak flow, which is more than twice normal flow. M.L.S.S. is recycled from all MBR stages to the upstream end of each of all the parallel process lines, mixing with influent wastewater, and the last one or several process lines no longer act to digest the sludge. Another advantage is that with the thickened sludge in the last process line of basins, which ordinally act to digest the sludge, there is always sufficient biomass in the system to handle peak flow, the biomass being available if needed for a sudden heavy flow or an event that might bring a toxic condition into the main basins.