This study aims to provide longitudinal and spatial insights to the rejection of N-nitrosamines by reverse osmosis (RO) membranes during sampling campaigns at three full-scale water recycling plants. Samples were collected at all individual filtration stages as well as at a cool and a warm weather period to elucidate the impact of recovery and feed temperature on the rejection of N-nitrosamines. N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) was detected in all RO feed samples varying between 7 and 32 ng/L. Concentrations of most other N-nitrosamines in the feed solutions were determined to be lower than their detection limits (3e5 ng/L) but higher concentrations were detected in the feed after each filtration stage. As a notable exception, in one plant, N-nitrosomorpholine (NMOR) was observed at high concentrations in RO feed (177e475 ng/L) and permeate (34e76 ng/L). Overall rejection of NDMA among the three RO systems varied widely from 4 to 47%. Data presented here suggest that the feed temperature can influence rejection of NDMA. A considerable variation in NDMA rejection across the three RO stages (14e78%) was also observed. Overall NMOR rejections were consistently high ranging from 81 to 84%. On the other hand, overall rejection of N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA) varied from negligible to 53%, which was considerably lower than values reported in previous laboratory-scale studies. A comparison between results reported here and the literature indicates that there can be some discrepancy in N-nitrosamine rejection data between laboratory- and full-scale studies probably due to differences in water recoveries and operating conditions (e.g. temperature, membrane fouling, and hydraulic conditions).
Fujioka, T., Khan, S. J., McDonald, J. A., Roux, A., Poussade, Y., Drewes, J. E. & Nghiem, L. D. (2013). N-nitrosamine rejection by reverse osmosis membranes: a full-scale study. Water Research, 47 (16), 6141-6148.