The application of nanofiltration is growing rapidly in drinking water and wastewater treatment. The main problem during the operation of nanofiltration membranes is membrane fouling, part of which is due to the presence of Natural Organic Matter (NOM) in sources for drinking water. In this work the effect of calcium was investigated on the nanofiltration fouling behavior in relation to NOM. From Li and Elimelech (2004) it is known that calcium enhanced membrane fouling significantly due to the formation of calcium-NOM complexes. Two techniques were used in our research to determine the part of calcium which is complexated by NOM and the free calcium ion in solution. Results showed that a minimum calcium concentration and a minimum NOM concentration were required for calcium-NOM complex formation. Furthermore, the influence of the calcium concentration on the flux decline during nanofiltration experiments was investigated for different types of feed water. The observed flux decline was proven to be only caused by NOM fouling rather than other membrane fouling types, such as biofouling, scaling or particulate fouling. Fouling of nanofiltration membranes was related to the calcium content in the feed water, and more specifically to the calcium-NOM complex concentration. Membrane cleaning with SDS was found to be very effective.

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