We have proposed “membrane-media active collaboration (M-MAC)”, which is a collaboration between a membrane and media in one unit, as a new solid-liquid separation technology for drinking water treatment. Membrane filtration has a high separation capability, and media filtration provides a superior stability of finished water quality and has the economies of scale. An efficient and stable solid-liquid separation can be ensured by actively utilising the advantages of each filtration function. Hanshin's help-each-other filter (HHF), which installs submerged membranes at the centre gullet of a conventional media filter, is a prototypical configuration of M-MAC. HHF enables the chemical cleaning of a membrane as part of the periodical maintenance of the entire filter and utilises a regular discharge from the membrane as feed water for media filtration. These processes can eliminate problems peculiar to membrane technology, such as those related to chemical cleaning and recovery rate. Simulation and a preliminary experiment showed that HHF provides the same treated water quality as the conventional media filter. We expect that this technological development will lead to innovations in filtration technology and increase the number of options for better solid-liquid separation in drinking water treatment.

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