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Water Res. 2010 Mar;44(5):1636-44. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2009.11.012. Epub 2009 Nov 14.

Assessing PAC contribution to the NOM fouling control in PAC/UF systems.

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University of Algarve, Gambelas Campus, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal.


This paper investigates the powdered activated carbon (PAC) contribution to the fouling control by natural organic matter (NOM) in PAC/UF hybrid process, as well as the foulant behaviour of the PAC itself. Solutions of NOM surrogates (humic acids, AHA, and tannic acid, TA) and AOM/EOM (algogenic organic matter/extracellular organic matter) fractions from a Microcystis aeruginosa culture were permeated through an ultrafiltration (UF) hollow-fibre cellulose acetate membrane (100kDa cut-off). The greatest impairment on flux and the poorest rejection were associated with polysaccharide-like EOM substances combined with mono and multivalent ions. PAC, either in the absence or in the presence of NOM, did not affect the permeate flux nor the reversible membrane fouling, regardless of the NOM characteristics (hydrophobicity and protein content) and water inorganics. However, PAC controlled the irreversible membrane fouling, minimising the chemical cleaning frequency. Furthermore, PAC enhanced AHA and TA rejections and the overall removal of AOM, although it was apparently ineffective for the highly hydrophilic EOM compounds.

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