Proposing nanofiltration as acceptable barrier for organic contaminants in water reuse

Victor Yangali-Quintanilla, Sungkyu Maeng, Takahiro Fujioka, Maria Dolores Kennedy, Gary L. Amy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

149 Scopus citations


For water reuse applications, " tight" nanofiltration (NF) membranes (of polyamide) as an alternative to reverse osmosis (RO) can be an effective barrier against pharmaceuticals, pesticides, endocrine disruptors and other organic contaminants. The use of RO in existing water reuse facilities is addressed and questioned, taking into consideration that tight NF can be a more cost-effective and efficient technology to target the problem of organic contaminants. It was concluded that tight NF is an acceptable barrier for organic contaminants because its removal performance approaches that of RO, and because of reduced operation and maintenance (O&M) costs in long-term project implementation. Average removal of neutral compounds (including 1,4-dioxane) was about 82% and 85% for NF and RO, respectively, and average removal of ionic compounds was about 97% and 99% for NF and RO, respectively. In addition, " loose" NF after aquifer recharge and recovery (ARR) can be an effective barrier against micropollutants with removals over 90%. When there is the presence of difficult to remove organic contaminants such as NDMA and 1,4-dioxane; for 1,4-dioxane, source control or implementation of treatment processes in wastewater treatment plants will be an option; for NDMA, a good strategy is to limit its formation during wastewater treatment, but there is evidence that biodegradation of NDMA can be achieved during ARR. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)334-345
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Oct 2010

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: The authors acknowledge the financial support of the Delft Cluster project and the European Union Techneau project for funding this research. Special thanks to Dr. Sacher (TZW, Germany) for contributing with analytical results, and to Timothy Selle and Katarina Majamaa (Dow-Filmtec) for kindly providing membrane samples and information.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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