Effects of feed solution characteristics and membrane fouling on the removal of THMs by UF/NF/RO membranes.

Research paper by Chao C Fang, Tian T Ou, Xingyu X Wang, Min M Rui, Wenhai W Chu

Indexed on: 08 Aug '20Published on: 08 Aug '20Published in: Chemosphere


Ultrafiltration (UF), nanofiltration (NF) and reverse osmosis (RO) are widely used in drinking water treatment and wastewater recycling. However, limited information was available regarding their performance in removing trihalomethanes (THMs). The present study investigated the effect of feed solution characteristics and membrane fouling on THM removal by UF/NF/RO membranes. The results indicated that THMs were poorly removed by UF membrane, and the removal was dominated by hydrophobic adsorption. In contrast, high removal of THMs was observed for NF/RO membranes, which was contributed by both size exclusion and hydrophobic adsorption. By comparing the adsorption of THMs on NF/RO membranes at different feed concentration, it was found that the role of hydrophobic adsorption was more important at lower feed concentration. The removal of THMs by UF/NF/RO membranes increased with increasing feed concentration, which can be ascribed to the enhanced diffusion at higher concentration gradient. With increasing ionic strength, THM removal was decreased significantly for UF membrane, but the removal by NF/RO membranes remained largely unchanged. By comparing THM removal by clean and fouled membranes, the effect of membrane fouling was examined. The removal of most THMs (except trichloromethane) decreased after fouling for UF membrane, whereas decreased removal was only observed for iodinated THMs for fouled NF/RO membranes. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.