The potentials of UF and NF membrane processes have been evaluated for separation of oil water emulsion generated from car washing operations. Using membranes, wastewater can be effectively recycled and fresh water usage could be reduced. The parameters studied were membrane type, emulsifier types, pressure and competing compounds. Both an-ionic and non-ionic emulsifiers were used for the experimental runs. The Ca2+ and Mg2+ were used as the main competitive ions. Results indicate that a polysulfone membrane caused more flux reduction than the cellulose acetate and thin film polyamide membranes. Higher concentrations of emulsifier presented negative flux decline in both UF and NF membranes. However, the presence of nonionic emulsifier in oil emulsion caused more significant flux reduction than an anionic emulsifier. The NF membrane produced higher TOC removal and less fouling than UF. The results indicate that increased competitive Ca2+ and Mg2+ ions resulted in significant positive NF flux and TOC removal.

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