Immersed membrane systems, and those with in-line coagulation, have been extensively applied in drinking water systems. Sedimentation is usually replaced by membrane processes in both systems. In these systems, voluminous flocculent aggregates formed during coagulation could be potential foulants. When raw waters with high turbidity are introduced, particle loadings to membrane due to coagulation pretreatment are enormous and thus could increase fouling. In general, during the rainy season, the turbidity of the Han River water, which supplies drinking water for the City of Seoul, Korea, is more than a hundred times higher than usual. Therefore, effects of floc on membrane fouling were investigated with highly turbid waters. Two turbidity concentrations, 40 and 200 NTU, were formulated by the addition of kaolin (used as a natural particle surrogate) to the Han River raw water. The results showed that the flux decline behaviours of the highly turbid waters were different from those of natural raw water. Coagulation pretreatment was very effective at reducing membrane fouling. Flocculent aggregates showed a negative effect on the flux decline, but a positive effect on the membrane cleaning efficiency.

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