Characterization of secondary treated effluents for tertiary membrane filtration and water recycling

C. Ayache, Marc Pidou, Wolfgang Gernjak, Yvan Poussade, Jean-Philippe Croue, Annie Tazi-Pain, Jurg R. Keller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This study evaluates the impacts of water quality from three different secondary effluents on low pressure membrane fouling. Effluent organic matter (EfOM) has been reported by previous studies as responsible for membrane fouling. However, the contribution of the different components of EfOM to membrane fouling is still not well understood. In order to improve and optimize treatment processes, characterization and quantification of the organic matter are important. The characterization methods used in this study are liquid chromatography coupled with an organic detector (LC-OCD) and excitation emission matrix fluorescence spectroscopy (EEM). A bench-scale hollow fibre membrane system was used to identify the type of fouling depending on the feed water quality. Results showed no measurable dissolved organic carbon removal by the membranes for the three secondary effluents. Biopolymers and humic-like substances found in different proportions in the three effluents were partially retained by the membranes and were identified to contribute significantly to the flux decline of the low pressure membranes. The observed fouling was determined to be reversible by hydraulic backwashing for two effluents and only by chemical cleaning for the third effluent. © IWA Publishing 2012.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-83
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Water Reuse and Desalination
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: The authors want to specifically acknowledge Veolia Environnement Recherche et Innovation and Seqwater for funding received through the 'Chair in Water Recycling' agreement within the University of Queensland and the FAST programme for funding the 'Optimization of biological pretreatment to limit UF/MF and RO fouling and maximise retention of organic contaminants'. The authors want to particularly thank Dr Alice Antony from the University of New South Wales for performing LC-OCD analyses. The authors would also like to acknowledge Unity Water and Allconnex Water for their support.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Filtration and Separation


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