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Use of Hydrophilic and Hydrophobic Microfiltration Membranes to Remove Microorganisms and Organic Pollutants from Primary Effluents

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Primary-effluent wastewater from the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (Pennsylvania) was used as a surrogate for combined-sewer-overflow waters contained in the sewershed. Pathogens contained in combined-primary-effluent wastewaters or combined-sewer overflows (CSOs) may pose a human-health threat to those coming in contact with such receiving waters. Polymeric ultra- and nano-membranes can be used to capture these microorganisms from CSOs. This research investigates the ability of polymeric hydrophobic and hydrophilic membranes, ranging in pore size from 0.2 to 0.8 μm, to remove pathogen-indicator organisms (Escherichia coli, enterococcus, and fecal coliforms). Membranes, with pore size 0.45 μm and smaller, were able to reduce the bacteria levels to nondetectable levels, with the sole exception of one membrane with pore size 0.3 μm.

Keywords: combined-sewer overflow; disinfection; enterococcus; escherichia coli; fecal coliforms; fouling; hydrophilic membranes; hydrophobic membranes; membrane disinfection; microfiltration; pathogenic bacteria; polymeric membranes; primary effluent

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2006

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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