Send to

Choose Destination
Sci Total Environ. 2016 Mar 15;547:60-77. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.12.139. Epub 2016 Jan 11.

Membrane processes for removal of pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs) from water and wastewaters.

Author information

INRS-ETE, Université du Québec, 490, Rue de la Couronne, Québec G1K 9A9, Canada.
INRS-ETE, Université du Québec, 490, Rue de la Couronne, Québec G1K 9A9, Canada. Electronic address:
CO(2) Solutions Inc., 2300, rue Jean-Perrin, Québec, Québec G2C 1T9, Canada.
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, N104 SEC, PO Box 886105, Lincoln, NE 68588-6105, USA.


Pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs), which find their way easily into the water sources, are emerging as a major concern for drinking water quality and aquatic species. Therefore, their removal from water sources is a priority from environmental point of view. During the past decade, different methods including membrane separation, adsorption systems and chemical transformation have been evaluated for removal of these compounds. This paper reviews different aspects of PhAC removal by using membrane separation processes, as they have been conventionally known to show high potential in the production of superior quality drinking and industrial water. In brief, osmosis membranes can efficiently remove almost all PhACs though its operational cost is relatively high and nanofiltration (NF) membranes are highly influenced by electrostatic and hydrophobic interaction. Moreover, the efficiency of membrane bioreactors (MBRs) is difficult to predict due to the complex interaction of compounds with microorganisms. To improve the performance and robustness of membrane technology, it is suggested to combine membranes with other systems, such as activated carbon and enzymatic degradation.


Membrane bioreactor; Membrane separation; Nanofiltration; Pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs); Reverse osmosis

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center