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J Hazard Mater. 2012 Mar 15;207-208:86-90. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2011.08.079. Epub 2011 Sep 16.

The effect of humic acids on the reverse osmosis treatment of hazardous landfill leachate.

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Department of Environmental Chemistry, Institute of Chemical Technology in Prague, Technická 5, 166 28 Prague, Czech Republic.


This study deals with the treatment of hazardous waste landfill leachate with the help of reverse osmosis. The landfill is located in an abandoned brown coal pit in northern Bohemia. The leachate contained 7.2 g/L of dissolved inorganic salts. Among other contaminants were heavy metals, arsenic, ammonia nitrogen and associated organic pollutants, especially chlorinated compounds. A mobile membrane unit (LAB M30) equipped with a spiral wound element (FILMTEC SW30-4040), with a membrane area equaling 7.4 m2 was used for the pilot plant experiments. All experiments were carried out in batch mode. 94% conversion of the input stream into the permeate was achieved by use of a two-stage arrangement. Removal efficiencies of the monitored contaminants in the feed ranged from 94% for ammonia nitrogen to 99% for the two-valent ions. Removal efficiency for total dissolved solids was 99.3% on average. Due to varying levels of humic acids in the leachate throughout the year, fouling experiments were performed to investigate the separation process under different conditions than those used in the pilot plant. Leachates containing different concentrations of added humic acids were separated using a thin film composite on a propylene membrane. The added humic acids were obtained from samples of contaminated oxihumolite.

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