This paper deals with the removal efficiency and mechanisms of humic substances contained in a river water by ultrafiltration (UF) and nanofiltration (NF) membranes. UF membranes with molecular weight cut-off (MWCO) of 50 kDa to 200 kDa can remove only large molecular size humic substances (LMSHS). Even in the UF membranes operated under the cross-flow mode, the LMSHS were accumulated on the membrane surface, because the back transport velocity of LMSHS is always smaller than that of the permeate flux. Precoagulation enhanced the removal of humic substances effectively. The optimum coagulation conditions for removing the humic substances in the UF membranes was the same as that in the conventional coagulation/flocculation/sedimentation process. The vibration action increased the removal efficiency of humic substances in the NF membrane process. Strong shear produced by the vibration diffused away the humic substances from the membrane surface to the bulk water, therefore the accumulation of humic substances on/near the membrane surface, i.e. formation of cake and concentration polarization boundary layers, is prohibited.

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