Byproduct Recovery from Reclaimed Water Reverse Osmosis Concentrate Using Lime and Soda-Ash Treatment

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Lime and soda-ash softening of reclaimed water reverse osmosis concentrates as a pretreatment step for concentration by seawater reverse osmosis was the focus of this study. The objectives were removal of the potential fouling minerals of calcium, magnesium, and silica by selective precipitation, while producing byproducts with potential resale value. Three different bench-scale lime-soda processes were evaluated. The traditional method produced low-quality magnesium hydroxide [Mg(OH)2] and calcium carbonate (CaCO3) byproducts. A modified process with pre-acidification to eliminate carbonate removed 98 to 99% of calcium and magnesium and produced CaCO3 that was >94% pure. To prevent the contamination of byproducts with calcium sulfate (CaSO4) in high-sulfate concentrates, a CaSO4 crystallization step was added successfully to the modified process to precipitate CaSO4 before Mg(OH)2 precipitation and produce gypsum that was 92% pure. The modified lime-soda process also removed 94 to 97% silica, 72 to 77% barium, and 95 to 96% strontium, which are known as reverse osmosis membrane foulants.

Keywords: byproducts; membrane concentrate; reclaimed water; zero-liquid discharge

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2010

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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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