In this study, use of a combined system of flocculation-microfiltration was assessed for its capability in removing solids and organics. The improvement of flux by the preflocculation was also investigated. The experimental set-up consisted of (i) Millipore flat plate microfiltration module with constant permeate withdrawal arrangement and (ii) a floating medium flocculator/filter consisting of polypropylene beads as a pretreatment. Commercial ferric chloride(FeCl3) was used for flocculation. The purpose of floating medium filter was primarily to produce filterable flocs and also to achieve partial solids and organics removal. The critical flux of kaolin clay suspension of 10–100mg/L was measured for membrane of pore size of 0.2μm in the presence of 0–4mg/L of fulvic acid in the suspension without any pretreatment. The critical flux was found to decrease with the increase in kaolin clay concentration. The results also indicated that there was no significant effect of organic (fulvic acid) concentration on critical flux. The pretreatment of floating medium filter alone without flocculant addition removed 30–40% of solids and resulted in a significant improvement of critical flux in crossflow microfiltration. Degree of solids and organic removal and the variation in critical flux were then studied in detail for the preflocculated/filtered kaolin clay suspension in the presence of organics. The pretreatment of flocculation/prefiltration removed approximately 50% of organics while producing uniform microflocs of 13–16 μm size. In addition, it enhanced the critical flux by 70% and resulted in 30–70% of the remaining organic removal in the crossflow microfiltration.

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