Biofouling mitigation by chloramination during forward osmosis filtration of wastewater

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2018, 15 (10)
Issue Date:
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© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Pre-concentration is essential for energy and resource recovery from municipal wastewater. The potential of forward osmosis (FO) membranes to pre-concentrate wastewater for subsequent biogas production has been demonstrated, although biofouling has also emerged as a prominent challenge. This study, using a cellulose triacetate FO membrane, shows that chloramination of wastewater in the feed solution at 3–8 mg/L residual monochloramine significantly reduces membrane biofouling. During a 96-h pre-concentration, flux in the chloraminated FO system decreased by only 6% and this flux decline is mostly attributed to the increase in salinity (or osmotic pressure) of the feed due to pre-concentration. In contrast, flux in the non-chloraminated FO system dropped by 35% under the same experimental conditions. When the feed was chloraminated, the number of bacterial particles deposited on the membrane surface was significantly lower compared to a non-chloraminated wastewater feed. This study demonstrated, for the first time, the potential of chloramination to inhibit bacteria growth and consequently biofouling during pre-concentration of wastewater using a FO membrane.
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