Application of monochloramine for wastewater reuse: Effect on biostability during transport and biofouling in RO membranes

N. M. Farhat*, E. Loubineaud, E. I.E.C. Prest, J. El-Chakhtoura, C. Salles, Sz S. Bucs, J. Trampé, W. B.P. Van den Broek, J. M.C. Van Agtmaal, M. C.M. Van Loosdrecht, J. C. Kruithof, J. S. Vrouwenvelder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The rising demand for clean and safe water has increased the interest in advanced wastewater treatment and reuse. Reverse osmosis (RO) can provide reliable and high-quality water from treated wastewater. Biofouling inevitably occurs, certainly with wastewater effluents, resulting in RO performance decline and operational problems. Chlorination of feed water has been commonly applied to limit biological growth. However, chlorine use may lead to a loss of membrane integrity of RO systems. In this study the potential of monochloramine as an alternative for chlorine was studied by (i) evaluating the biological stability of a full-scale wastewater membrane bioreactor (MBR) effluent during transport over 13 km to a full-scale RO plant and (ii) assessing the biofouling control potential in membrane fouling simulator (MFS) and pilot-scale RO installation. Microbial water analysis was performed on samples taken at several locations in the full-scale water reuse system (MBR effluent, during transport, and at the RO inlet and outlet) using a suite of tools including heterotrophic plate counts (HPC), adenosine triphosphate (ATP), flow cytometry (FCM), and 16 S rRNA gene pyrosequencing. Growth potential tests were used to evaluate the effect of monochloramine presence and absence on bacterial growth. Results showed limited changes in the microbial water quality in the presence of monochloramine. MFS studies showed that membrane biofouling could be effectively repressed by monochloramine over prolonged time periods. The normalized salt passage in a pilot RO system with monochloramine dosage was constant over a one year period (data of last 130 days presented), demonstrating that no membrane damage occurred. From this study, it can be concluded that monochloramine dosage in wastewater applications is effective in controlling biofouling in RO systems and maintaining a monochloramine residual during water transport provides biologically stable water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-253
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier B.V.


  • Bacterial community
  • Flow cytometry
  • Membrane bioreactor
  • Pyrosequencing
  • Reverse osmosis performance
  • Transport pipe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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