Publication Details

Fujioka, T., Tu, K. L., Khan, S., McDonald, J., Roux, A., Poussade, Y., Drewes, J. & Nghiem, L. (2014). Rejection of small solutes by reverse osmosis membranes for water reuse applications: A pilot-scale study. Desalination, 350 28-34.


N-nitrosamines and boron are small solutes of particular concern during water recycling applications. Here, we evaluated the rejection of seven N-nitrosamines and boron under a range of operating conditions and feed solution characteristics. The evaluationwas conducted using a pilot-scale reverse osmosis (RO) system to appropriately simulate hydrodynamic conditions of full-scale RO installations. The rejection of seven N-nitrosamines by the pilot RO system varied significantly in the range from 31 to 94%, and rejection increased in the increasing order of their molecular weight. Rejection values obtained from this pilot-scale study were lower than those previously reported in laboratory-scale studies. These discrepancieswere attributed to a difference in RO system operating condition (i.e. recovery) between the pilot-scale study (25%) and laboratory-scale study (b0.1%). Nevertheless, rejection data reported here validate the recent findings fromlaboratory-scale studies with respect to the impact of permeate flux, feed temperature and feed pH on separation efficiencies of N-nitrosamines. Data obtained from this pilot-scale study also validate the strong correlation between boron and NDMA rejection at or below pH 8 regardless of operating conditions and feed solution characteristics. The results suggest that boron rejection can be used as a surrogate for NDMA rejection in full-scale RO installations.

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