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Membrane Technology for Industrial Wastewater Treatment

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Since the 1970's, membrane technologies have been in use providing physical separation of soluble and insoluble constituents in aqueous streams. One very common use in the world today is in the production of drinking water through desalinization of seawater, or through purification of fresh water sources. However, use of membranes for treatment of wastewaters generated from industrial processes has developed more slowly. In many industries, membranes are still perceived as “new” technology; their effectiveness and reliability questioned even though reputable systems manufacturers have large amounts of application data.

Today, membranes have found some specific uses in industrial wastewater treatment. One of their primary uses is to allow facilities to recycle and reuse treated effluent instead of relying on other sources of process water such as rivers, groundwater wells, or purchasing potable water from a city. Membranes together with additional treatment technologies have enabled many companies to achieve “Zero Discharge“ systems. Membrane systems are also commonly used in the following applications:

The treatment of soluble oil coolants and machine lubricants,

Secondary treatment of industrial wastewaters for BOD5 removal, and

Replacement of conventional clarification/multimedia filtration unit operations for suspended solids separation and effluent polishing prior to discharge.

The use of membrane technology in wastewater treatment will increase with improvements in technology, discovery of new applications, and reduced costs. One of the greatest barriers to their use however, is a lack of understanding of their operating principles and the proper application and design of membrane technology.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2002-01-01

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