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Water Res. 2004 Aug-Sep;38(14-15):3431-41.

Irreversible membrane fouling during ultrafiltration of surface water.

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Department of Urban and Environmental Engineering, Hokkaido University, N13W8, Sapporo 060-8628, Japan.


For more efficient use of membranes, the control of irreversible membrane fouling, which can be defined as fouling requiring chemical reagents to be mitigated, is of importance. In this study, irreversible fouling caused by constituents in surface water was investigated, based on a long-term pilot scale study. The membrane employed was a low-pressure hydrophobic ultrafiltration (UF) membrane made of polysulfone and having a molecular weight cutoff of 750,000 Da. Various chemical reagents were examined to overcome the irreversible fouling that had developed through 5 months of continuous filtration. Among the tested cleaning reagents, alkaline (NaOH) and oxidizing reagent (NaClO) showed good performance in the restoration of membrane permeability, which implied that organic matter played an important role in the development of the irreversible fouling in this study. Chemical analysis, adsorptive fractionation methods, fluorescence excitation-emission matrix (EEM) and Fourie-transformed infra-red (FTIR) spectra analysis were applied to elucidate which fraction of organic matter caused the irreversible fouling. All of the analysis indicated that polysaccharide-like organic matter was responsible for the evolution of the irreversible fouling. In addition to organic matter, presumably iron and manganese also contributed to the irreversible fouling to some extent.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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