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Reverse Osmosis Performance in MBR-RO Process with Recirculation of RO Concentrate to MBR for Water Reclamation

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Document pages: 25 pages

Abstract: An integrated membrane system, membrane bioreactor-reverse osmosis (MBR-RO), has become highly efficient in producing high-quality water for municipal wastewater reclamation. However, disposal of a highly concentrated waste stream (RO concentrate or RO retentate) generated in this combination is an important issue. This work investigated RO behaviour in an integrated pilot scale MBR-RO system for municipal wastewater reuse with the continuous recycling of RO retentate to the MBR influent. RO membrane retention and the fouling propensity were studied. RO concentrate, produced by the RO process at a fixed concentration factor (CF) of 3, was recycled continuously to the MBR, leading to water recovery of the entire process around 92 . Osmotic pressure model, saturation index method, high performance liquid chromatography equipped with size exclusion column (HPLC-SEC) and specific filtration test were used to analyse the fouling potential of the RO membrane. The results obtained showed that even though RO concentrate recycling changed remarkably, the compositions of both MBR permeate and RO concentrate, the quality of RO permeate remained almost constant in terms of organic matters, conductivity, and ionic salts. However, these high concentrations of organic or inorganic substances in RO concentrate were major factors leading to the RO membrane fouling. Before RO concentrate recycling, a decline of approximately 30 of the initial RO permeate flux was observed in the period when the CF was increasing to 3, mainly due to the osmotic pressure effect of retained ions and the deposits of organic matters at the RO membrane surface. After RO concentrate addition to the MBR, due to the continuous accumulation of ionic salts on the RO membrane surface, a gradual reduction in RO permeate flux (additional 19 ) was also mainly attributed to the osmotic pressure effect of the retained ions. These observations showed that the continuous addition of RO concentrate to the MBR was successful in a combined MBR and RO process in terms of the excellent quality of RO permeate.

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