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Best Practices in the Functional Design and Operation of Reverse Osmosis Membrane Plants

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Abstract:

Purification of water and wastewater with reverse osmosis (RO) membrane, though simple in concept, is very much a process with complicated chemistries requiring validated design and trained operations team. The challenge for designing and operating RO membrane plants to run continuously, with membrane service lives of greater than 12 years forces one to examine the adequacy and integration of functions needed in the realms of process chemistry, plant equipment and people that operate and maintain the RO plants.

Our daily focus on solving major problems of existing RO plants, and closing the gap between these plants and those that run continuously without unscheduled stoppages for more than 12 years motivated this analysis of functions that relate to plant performances. We list the major functions in the process, equipment and people domains. Missing functions often can be correlated with poor plant performances. Since end-users have the economic burden of providing for these functions, their awareness of the relationship between the functions and outcomes in plant operation is very important. For the end-user's staff, contractors, suppliers and consultants, considerations and optimization of their functional effectiveness brings great value to their services. By pointing to the needed changes and missing functional components, we are very optimistic that through collaborations, our technical community can come together to promote a best practice for the much desired goal of seeing RO used as continuous processes without fouling, and at maximum recovery of precious water.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/193864708788803794

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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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 These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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