Osmotically driven membrane process for the management of urban runoff in coastal regions

Zhenyu Li, Rodrigo Valladares Linares, Muhanned Abu Ghdaid, Tong Zhan, Victor Yangali-Quintanilla, Gary L. Amy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


An osmotic detention pond was proposed for the management of urban runoff in coastal regions. Forward osmosis was employed as a bridge to utilize natural osmotic energy from seawater for concentrating and reusing urban runoff water, and as a barrier to reject runoff-derived contaminants. The process was demonstrated by a lab scale testing using synthetic urban runoff (as the feed solution) and synthetic seawater (as the draw solution). The submerged forward osmosis process was conducted under neutral, acidic and natural organic matter fouling condition, respectively. Forward osmosis flux decline was mainly attributed to the dilution of seawater during a semi-batch process in lab scale testing. However, it is possible to minimize flux decrease by maintaining a constant salinity at the draw solution side. Various changes in urban runoff water quality, including acidic conditions (acid rain) and natural organic matter presence, did not show significant effects on the rejection of trace metals and phosphorus, but influenced salt leakage and the rejection of nitrate and total nitrogen. Rejection of trace metals varied from 98% to 100%, phosphorus varied from 97% to 100, nitrate varied from 52% to 94% and total nitrogen varied from 65% to 85% under different feed water conditions. The work described in this study contributes to an integrated system of urban runoff management, seawater desalination and possible power generation in coastal regions to achieve a sustainable solution to the water-energy nexus. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-209
Number of pages10
JournalWater Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Pollution
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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