Pre-coagulation enhanced by KMnO4 before ultrafiltration (KCUF) was compared with normal pre-coagulation by alum (CUF) in the ultrafiltration of water from the Songhua River, China. The trans-membrane pressure (TMP) with KCUF was much lower than that when alum alone was used. With KCUF a slower increment of TMP occurred, even under conditions of high river water turbidity. The results also showed that the removal of COD, UV254 and TOC was appreciably higher after adding 0.5mg/L KMnO4 compared with CUF. Although assimilable organic carbon (AOC) was increased by permanganate treatment, the AOC of the permeate from KCUF was nearly the same as that from CUF, showing that the cake layer on the surface of KCUF membrane could adsorb small molecules more effectively than that of CUF. This result was confirmed by the apparent molecular weight (MW) distribution measured by size exclusion chromatography (SEC). It was shown that flocs formed by KMnO4 and alum were larger than those formed only by alum, causing higher removal of flocs and higher permeation flux. Lower NOM was found in the permeate from the KCUF systems because oxidation and adsorption of organic matter on the flocs occurred. The membrane was partly clogged by organic matter or other materials including some small flocs.

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