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The effects of the combined coagulation-disk filtration (CC-DF) process on the fouling characteristics and behavior caused by interactions between effluent organic matter (EfOM) and the membrane surfaces of the ultrafiltration (UF) and reverse osmosis (RO) membranes in a pilot plant for municipal wastewater reclamation (MWR) were investigated. The feed water from secondary effluents was treated by the CC-DF process used as a pretreatment for the UF membrane to mitigate fouling formation and the permeate from the CC-DF process was further filtered by two UF membrane units in parallel arrangement and fed into four RO modules in a series connection. The CC-DF process was not sufficient to mitigate biofouling but the UF membrane was effective in mitigating biofouling on the RO membrane surfaces. Fouling of the UF and RO membranes was dominated by hydrophilic fractions of EfOM (e.g., polysaccharide-like and protein-like substances) and inorganic scaling (e.g., aluminum, calcium and silica). The desorbed UF membrane foulants included more aluminum species and hydrophobic fractions than the desorbed RO membrane foulants, which was presumably due to the residual coagulants and aluminum-humic substance complexes. The significant change in the surface chemistry of the RO membrane (a decrease in surface charge and an increase in contact angle of the fouled RO membranes) induced by the accumulation of hydrophilic EfOM onto the negatively charged RO membrane surface intensified the fouling formation of the fouled RO membrane by hydrophobic interaction between the humic substances of EfOM with relatively high hydrophobicity and the fouled RO membranes with decreased surface charge and increased contract angle. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Kangmin Chon, Seung Joon Kim, Jihee Moon, Jaeweon Cho. Combined coagulation-disk filtration process as a pretreatment of ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis membrane for wastewater reclamation: an autopsy study of a pilot plant. Water research. 2012 Apr 15;46(6):1803-16

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PMID: 22310806

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