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Advanced treatment of municipal wastewater by nanofiltration: Operational optimization and membrane fouling analysis

Li, Kun, Wang, Jianxing, Liu, Jibao, Wei, Yuansong, Chen, Meixue
Journal of environmental sciences (China) 2016 v.43 pp. 106-117
fluorescence, fouling, inorganic salts, molecular weight, municipal wastewater, nanofiltration, oxidation, sewage, sewage treatment, washing, water quality, water reuse, China
Municipal sewage from an oxidation ditch was treated for reuse by nanofiltration (NF) in this study. The NF performance was optimized, and its fouling characteristics after different operational durations (i.e., 48 and 169hr) were analyzed to investigate the applicability of nanofiltration for water reuse. The optimum performance was achieved when transmembrane pressure=12bar, pH=4 and flow rate=8L/min using a GE membrane. The permeate water quality could satisfy the requirements of water reclamation for different uses and local standards for water reuse in Beijing. Flux decline in the fouling experiments could be divided into a rapid flux decline and a quasi-steady state. The boundary flux theory was used to predict the evolution of permeate flux. The expected operational duration based on the 169-hr experiment was 392.6hr which is 175% longer than that of the 48-hr one. High molecular weight (MW) protein-like substances were suggested to be the dominant foulants after an extended period based on the MW distribution and the fluorescence characteristics. The analyses of infrared spectra and extracellular polymeric substances revealed that the roles of both humic- and polysaccharide-like substances were diminished, while that of protein-like substances were strengthened in the contribution of membrane fouling with time prolonged. Inorganic salts were found to have marginally influence on membrane fouling. Additionally, alkali washing was more efficient at removing organic foulants in the long term, and a combination of water flushing and alkali washing was appropriate for NF fouling control in municipal sewage treatment.