Impacts of Membrane Residuals on Wastewater Treatment Plants: Fact or Fiction

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Given the benefits derived from membrane treatment of water and wastewater, interest in using membranes is growing throughout this country. The focus has been on the benefits of the product water (permeate) side of the system. As with any new technology or application, there are benefits and liabilities. Membrane separation is a non-destructive technology: the membranes merely concentrate the rejected pollutants in a sidestream. Several types of membranes are used in water and wastewater treatment, and the sidestream from each type contains pollutants in different concentrations.

What impacts do these pollutants have on the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) and the collection system? This paper reviews issues such as corrosion; recycling and concentration of pollutants in the wastewater; process inhibition; WWTP effluent quality; and impacts of the pollutants on the receiving streams. There are also water balance impacts that can significantly increase the concentration of residuals entering a wastewater system: many times water utilities sell water to outside customers who do not return it as wastewater to the utility's collection and treatment system, which creates an imbalance that may cause additional stress on both the wastewater treatment plant and the receiving stream. This paper presents a summary of an ongoing WateReuse Foundation (WRF) study titled Impacts of Membrane Residuals on WWTPs.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2005

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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