Viability of a low-pressure nanofilter in treating recycled water for water reuse applications: A pilot-scale study

Christopher Bellona, Jörg E. Drewes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential of a low-pressure nanofiltration (NF) membrane for treating recycled water for indirect potable water reuse applications. In particular, the tradeoffs in choosing low-pressure NF over reverse osmosis (RO) were investigated including whether or not significantly lowering operating pressures/costs would result in diminished permeate water quality. A NF membrane (Dow/Filmtec NF-4040) with high permeate productivity was selected for pilot-scale testing over a period of 1200 h at a water reuse facility employing conventional RO membranes for treating tertiary treated wastewater effluent prior to aquifer recharge. The novel application of an NF membrane in treating wastewater effluent for water reuse applications permitted a comprehensive screening of NF permeate water quality and allowed for the investigation of trace organic contaminant rejection on pilot scale with environmentally relevant feed water concentrations. Results from pilot-scale testing highlighted the selectivity of NF membranes in removing organic solutes present in wastewater effluents at the parts-per-trillion level. While operating pressures were by a factor of 2-3 lower than conventional RO membranes, and bulk and trace organic rejection generally exceeded 90 percent, not surprisingly, the rejection of monovalent ions such as nitrate was poor. The poor-to-moderate rejection of monovalent ions, however, resulted in lowered brine stream total dissolved solids concentration and sodium adsorption ratio as compared with the brine stream of conventional RO membranes, which may be beneficial for brine disposal strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3948-3958
Number of pages11
JournalWater Research
Volume41
Issue number17
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Nanofiltration
  • Solute rejection
  • Trace organic contaminants
  • Water reuse

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