Cross flow microfiltration with in-line flocculation reduces the fouling of membranes thus leading to high quality product water. A detailed experimental study conducted with an artificial suspension (particle size distribution similar to that of surface water) revealed that the filtration rate can be increased by several times by adopting in-line flocculation. In-line flocculation-microfiltration is therefore an attractive technique to reduce internal clogging while improving the permeate flux significantly.
A detailed ultrafiltration (UF) study was conducted with biologically treated sewage effluent with pretreatment by flocculation and powdered activated carbon adsorption. The TOC removal by the NTR 7410 UF membrane alone was 43.6%. The TOC removal increased significantly by the use of pretreatment: 69.3% by flocculation and 91% by flocculation followed by adsorption. The organic colloidal portion (between 3,500 dalton and 0.45 μm) in the biologically treated effluent was removed up to more than 65% by the pretreatment of flocculation. The molecular weight of the biologically treated effluent ranged from 250 to about 3,573 dalton with the highest fraction in the range of 250-845 dalton. By the incorporation of pretreatment, the majority of both large and small molecular weight organic matter was removed. This hybrid system led to practically no filtration flux decline in membrane filtration.