Drinking water sources in Norway are characterized by high concentrations of natural organic matter (NOM), low alkalinity and low turbidity. The removal of NOM is therefore a general requirement in producing potable water. Drinking water treatment plants are commonly designed with coagulation direct filtration or NF spiral wound membrane processes. This study has investigated the feasibility and potential of a hybrid process combining ozonation and biofiltration with a rotating disk membrane for treating drinking water with high NOM concentrations. Ozonation will oxidize the NOM content removing colour and form biodegradable organic compounds, which can be removed in biological filters. A constructed water was used in this study which is representative of ozonated NOM-containing water. A rotating membrane disk bioreactor downstream the ozonation process was used to carry out both the biodegradation as well as biomass separation in the same reactor. Maintenance of biodegradation of the organic matter while controlling biofouling of the membrane and acceptable water production rates was the focus in the study. Three operating modes were investigated. Removal of the biodegradable organics was consistent throughout the study indicating that sufficient biomass was maintained in the reactor for all operating conditions tested. Biofouling control was not achieved through shear-induced cleaning by periodically rotating the membrane disks at high speed. By adding a small amount of sponges in the membrane chamber the biofouling could be controlled by mechanical cleaning of the membrane surface during disk rotation. The overall results indicate that the system can favorably be used in an ozonation/biofiltration process by carrying out both biodegradation as well as biomass separation in the same reactor.

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