© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.Direct ceramic microfiltration (DCMF) is an effective technology to pre-concentrate organic matter (OM) for the subsequent anaerobic energy-recovering processes and a fast, cost-effective, easy treatment process for municipal wastewater. The major problem in DCMF is the rapid fouling of the membrane. In this study, to maximize OM recovery rates and prevent membrane fouling, the DCMF process was alternately paired with dosing of a cationic polyacrylamide (PAM) flocculant and chemically enhanced primary sedimentation (CEPS). The DCMF process tested in three stages: (i) optimization of flocculant concentration (0.5, 1, 1.5, and 2 mg/L PAM) and dosing point, (ii) optimization of operational conditions (pH, filtration/backwash duration, flux, and recovery rate) to control membrane fouling, and (iii) long-term operation of the DCMF process. The influence of PAM dosage points on DCMF fouling behavior was explored, and system operating parameters in terms of OM recovery and TMP change were optimized. The CEPS + DCMF setup was discovered to be a potential option for overcoming fouling. The highest chemical oxygen demand (COD) was 520 ± 20 mg/L in the concentrated wastewater using CEPS + DCMF experiments for 0.5 mg/L PAM. The highest OM pre-concentration was achieved at 90% recovery rate. After the optimization, COD concentration in the concentrate of the DCMF process reached 822 mg/L for the long-term (20 days) operation. The net potential energy production was calculated as 0.28 kWh/m3 considering the theoretical COD of 1432 mg/L in the concentrate stream. As a novel approach, the CEPS + DCMF process can be used in place of conventional municipal wastewater treatment processes due to its acceptable OM removal performance, simple operation, small footprint, and potential energy generation.