Adsorption of the trace contaminant estrone, a natural hormone and commonly abundant in surface waters and in treated as well as untreated wastewaters, to eight commercial nanofiltration and reverse osmosis membranes was investigated under well defined conditions. Experiments were conducted in stainless steel stirred cells by spiking trace levels (100 ng.L−1) of estrone into five different matrices, namely MilliQ water, a bicarbonate solution, synthetic natural waters containing natural organics, and secondary effluent. Results show that estrone is adsorbed to the membranes to varying degrees with extent of adsorption influenced by the feedwater composition with different mechanisms of association controlling adsorption to different membrane types. Increase in membrane resistance is typically observed to result in decrease in extent of estrone adsorption.

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