Post-treatment of secondary textile wastewater was tested at pilot scale on membrane modules (microfiltration MF, nanofiltration NF and reverse osmosis RO) for the direct reuse of polished effluent within the dyeing processes. The main polluting parameters monitored in the post-treatment were: organic compounds (COD), colour, surfactants and salinity (as conductivity).

The first treatment scheme was made of ceramic MF followed by NF. Aluminium polychloride was added at high concentrations (of the order of 70 mg Al/L) to avoid MF membrane fouling. The quality of the final permeate, produced by NF fed on the MF permeate, was acceptable for water reuse.

Clariflocculation (CF) plus multimedia filtration (MMF) followed by low-pressure RO was also tested. This process performed quite well: the RO module (p = 4 bar) ran for relatively long cycles (up to 80 hours) with 5% reduction of the permeate flow rate at a 10 L m−2 h−1 fluxes.

A techno-economical analysis on the experimental data indicate that a high quality effluent (COD < 10 mg/l; conductivity < 40 μS/cm; negligible residual colour), to be recycled in the textile dyeing industry, may be produced at affordable costs (less than 0.25 ECU) from secondary textile wastewater.

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