Direct membrane filtration (DMF) is considered as a promising technology for municipal wastewater treatment. We utilized an innovative application of flat-sheet ceramic membranes (FSCM) for DMF for the rapid treatment of domestic sewage. Coagulation was applied before FSCM filtration to increase the pollutant removal and to mitigate membrane fouling. This coagulation-FSCM filtration can significantly reduce the pollutant load on the downstream treatment and concentrate organics and nutrients into sludge to facilitate resource recovery. Using polyaluminum chloride (PACl) based FSCM filtration, approximately 90.0% of the chemical oxygen demand (COD) and 99.0% of the phosphorus (P) were removed from the sewage influent and retained in the concentrated sludge, with less than 25.0 mg/L COD left in the effluent. Long-term operation of the PACl-based FSCM filtration stably maintained a high flux of 41.7 L/m2-h (LMH, or 1.0 m/d). The fouled membranes were cleaned chemically every 3-5 d, and the membrane permeability could almost be completely recovered using chemical backwash for only 10 min with a diluted acidic, alkaline, chlorine or H2O2 solution. The novel FSCM process will fundamentally advance wastewater treatment technology. It can be readily modularized and installed as simple add-on units to upgrade and retrofit existing wastewater treatment systems.
Keywords: Coagulation; Direct membrane filtration; Domestic sewage; Flat-sheet ceramic membrane; Wastewater treatment.
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