Part 1: Membrane Pretreatment Application Types and Considerations with SWRO
By Jonathan A. Dietrich
Conventional flocculation/sedimentation and media filtration processes enhance drinking water quality by reducing the natural organic matter (NOM) content of raw feedwater sources associated with total trihalomethane formation potential, and the resulting reduction in disinfection by-products in the finished water for drinking purposes. Media filters also reduce or remove suspended material, offer log-reduction of bacteria, and zooplankton from seawater; and have been in service for decades primarily throughout the Middle East as pretreatment to membrane processes. Membrane pretreatment offers the same potential benefits as conventional media pretreatment, provides for a physical membrane barrier and potential rejection of viruses in seawater; and can also eliminate the filtrate consistency challenges inherent to many conventional media filtration systems. As a result, membrane pretreatment on seawater is gaining acceptance in the industry as a viable alternative to conventional flocculation/media filtration as a means for providing acceptable, reliable, and consistent quality to a seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) membrane.
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