A Novel Approach To Control Microbial Fouling of Reverse Osmosis Elements
By William V. Collentro
Microbial fouling of reverse osmosis (RO) membranes is associated with loss of product water flow, increase in feedwater pressure, and increase in product water microbial levels. Membrane fouling can be reduced by reducing the total viable bacteria level in the RO system feedwater. In-line ultraviolet (UV) treatment of feedwater, positioned downstream of RO unit waste recycle, can significantly reduce total viable bacteria to levels that are not detectable in a 100 milliliter (mL) sample. UV radiation at a wave length of 184.9 nanometers (nm) produces both highly oxidative ozone and the hydroxyl radical, capable of rapid inactivation of bacteria.
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