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Effects of Total Suspended Solids Loading on Short-Term Fouling in the Treatment of Secondary Effluent by an Immersed Ultrafiltration Pilot System

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This study examined the performance of a pilot-scale immersed ultrafiltration system using secondary effluent as a feed source, with particular emphasis on the role played by total suspended solids (TSS) on short-term fouling rates within permeation cycles. Key secondary effluent quality characteristics, such as ionic composition and total/colloidal organic carbon content, remained reasonably stable during the course of the study. However, TSS loads in the secondary effluent were correlated with the extent of within-cycle fouling. This relationship existed irrespective of membrane packing density or the operating flux, although the latter parameter did control the rate at which within-cycle fouling occurred. Although the complex causes of ultrafiltration membrane fouling during tertiary treatment over the long term remain poorly understood, TSS levels in the feed may offer a simple means of better predicting within-cycle spikes in transmembrane pressure. Based on historical and seasonal trends, or both, of TSS loads in the secondary clarifiers of a given wastewater treatment plant, periods requiring an increased frequency of backpulses or recovery cleanings may be identified before implementation of full-scale tertiary ultrafiltration systems.

Keywords: Immersed tertiary membranes; membrane fouling; secondary effluent; total suspended solids

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2009

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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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