The application of vacuum to direct contact membrane distillation (vacuum enhanced direct contact membrane distillation, V-DCMD) removed condensable gasses and reduced partial pressure in the membrane pores, achieving 37.6% higher flux than DCMD at the same feed temperature. Transfer mechanism and temperature distribution profile in V-DCMD were studied. The empirical flux decline (EFD) model represented fouling profiles of V-DCMD. In a continuous V-DCMD operation with moderate temperature (55 degrees C) and permeate pressure (300 mbar) for treating wastewater ROC, a flux of 16.0 +/- 0.3 L/m(2) h and high quality distillate were achieved with water flushing, showing the suitability of V-DCMD for ROC treatment. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.