Effect of pH and pressure on uranium removal from drinking water using NF/RO membranes

Helfrid Schulte-Herbruggen, Andrea Correia Semiao, Perrine Chaurand, Margaret Graham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Groundwater is becoming an increasingly important drinking water source. However, the use of groundwater for potable purposes can lead to chronic human exposure to geogenic contaminants, for example, uranium. Nanofiltration (NF) and reverse osmosis (RO) processes are used for drinking water purification, and it is important to understand how contaminants interact with membranes since accumulation of contaminants to the membrane surface can lead to fouling, performance decline and possible breakthrough of contaminants. During the current study laboratory experiments were conducted using NF (TFC-SR2) and RO (BW30) membranes to establish the behavior of uranium across pH (3–10) and pressure (5–15 bar) ranges. The results showed that important determinants of uranium-membrane sorption interactions were (i) the uranium speciation (uranium species valence and size in relation to membrane surface charge and pore size) and (ii) concentration polarization, depending on the pH values. The results show that it is important to monitor sorption of uranium to membranes, which is controlled by pH and concentration polarization, and, if necessary, adjust those parameters controlling uranium sorption.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5817–5824
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume50
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2016

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