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Analysis of Organic Nitrogen Removal in Municipal Wastewater by Reverse Osmosis

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Organic nitrogen (Norg) removal by the reverse osmosis (RO) process is not well documented in the literature. Unlike inorganic nitrogen (e.g. ammonia, nitrate, nitrite), which is consistently removed across a RO membrane as a function of process operation (e.g. flux and recovery), pH and membrane type; Norg removal may vary depending on its characteristics (e.g. size, charge and hydrophobicity). The results of a pilot study that was conducted to determine the total nitrogen (TN) removal by the RO process are presented. The Norg removal rates are compared with removals observed from three full–scale RO facilities and four pilot studies. The results of this analysis suggest that Norg removal is variable and that RO may not consistently produce TN levels <1.0 mg/L without additional treatment. Three hypotheses to explain the variability in Norg removal in the different data sets are presented.
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Keywords: biological nutrient removal; organic nitrogen; reverse osmosis

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2011

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