Investigation of Submerged Membrane Reactor in Removal of Water Turbidity Using Poly-Aluminum Chloride Coagulant with Coagulation Aids of Polyelectrolyte and Lime

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD Student in Environmental Engineering (Water and Wastewater), Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Prof., Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

3 Prof., Faculty of Environment, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

4 Prof., Dept. of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran

5 Prof., Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment, Science and Research Branch, IslamicAzad University, Tehran, Iran


In recent years, the development of submerged membrane systems has led to the significant development of ultrafiltration/water purification markets. The study aimed to investigate the efficiency of Poly-Aluminum Chloride coagulant in removing turbidity using a submerged membrane reactor for simultaneous coagulation and flocculation of filtration and determine the optimal values of its performance parameters. In this study, the Poly-Aluminum Chloride coagulant along with lime and polyelectrolyte for water coagulation and flocculation was firstly evaluated by the Jar test in different turbidities. Also, pH (5-10), Poly-Aluminum Chloride (1-50 mg/L), and coagulant aids of lime (0.5-15 mg/L) and polyelectrolyte (0.1 to 2 mg/L) were examined. Then, a pilot-scale submerged membrane reactor was designed for coagulation, flocculation, and membrane filtration processes. Pilot experiments were used as closed systems, and then different parameters of flux, aluminum concentration in the treated water, and membrane fouling were investigated. Jar test results showed that Poly-Aluminum Chloride had a great performance in removing turbidity. In addition, the use of lime and polyelectrolyte coagulant aids improved the turbidity removal process by 3%. Furthermore, pH=8 was selected as the optimal range, and the best flux performance was obtained at turbidity less than 100NTU in a submerged membrane pilot. The flux reduction in eight hours of operation time was only 5% while this increased to 50% in turbidity above 200NTU. The turbidity removal percentages were reported to be constant and higher than 99.5%. The removal rate of total aluminum by the membrane process has been over 99%, and the type of membrane fouling is surface sediment and is reversible. Results indicated that the submerged membrane reactor along with coagulation and flocculation could be applied as an efficient method in water treatment with different turbidity.


Ahangari, H. G., Pourmoghadas, H. & Fahiminia, M. 2020. Optimization of wastewater refinery in Shokoohiyeh industrial city of Qom before entering RO system using chlorophyll, alum and PAC coagulators. Journal of Water and Wastewater, 31(1), 76-85. (In Persian)
Ang, W. L., Mohammad, A. W., Hilal, N. & Leo, C. P. 2015. A review on the applicability of integrated/hybrid membrane processes in water treatment and desalination plants. Desalination, 363, 2-18.
Antov, M. G., Šćiban, M. B. & Prodanović, J. M. 2012. Evaluation of the efficiency of natural coagulant obtained by ultrafiltration of common bean seed extract in water turbidity removal. Ecological Engineering, 49, 48-52.
Baptista, A. T. A., Coldebella, P. F., Cardines, P. H. F., Gomes, R. G., Vieira, M. F., Bergamasco, R., et al. 2015. Coagulation–flocculation process with ultrafiltered saline extract of Moringa oleifera for the treatment of surface water. Chemical Engineering Journal, 276, 166-173.
Chae, S. R., Yamamura, H., Choi, B. & Watanabe, Y. 2009. Fouling characteristics of pressurized and submerged PVDF (polyvinylidene fluoride) microfiltration membranes in a pilot-scale drinking water treatment system under low and high turbidity conditions. Desalination, 244, 215-226.
Choksuchart, P., Héran, M. & Grasmick, A. 2002. Ultrafiltration enhanced by coagulation in an immersed membrane system. Desalination, 145, 265-272.
Cui, Z., Chang, S. & Fane, A. 2003. The use of gas bubbling to enhance membrane processes. Journal of Membrane Science, 221(1-2), 1-35
Farahbakhsh, K., Adham, S. S. & Smith, D. W. 2003. Monitoring the integrity of low‐pressure membranes. JournalAmerican Water Works Association, 95, 95-107.
Federation, W. E. & Association, A. P. H. 2005. Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater. American Public Health Association (APHA): Washington, DC, USA.
Guigui, C., Rouch, J., Durand-Bourlier, L., Bonnelye, V. & Aptel, P. 2002. Impact of coagulation conditions on the in-line coagulation/UF process for drinking water production. Desalination, 147, 95-100.
Hoekstra, E. J., Aertgeerts, R., Bonadonna, L., Cortvriend, J., Drury, D., Goossens, R., et al. 2008. The advice of the Ad-Hoc working group on sampling and monitoring to the standing committee on drinking water concerning sampling and monitoring for the revision of the council directive 98/83/EC. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, EUR, 23374.
Kirschner, A. Y., Cheng, Y. H., Paul, D. R., Field, R. W. & Freeman, B. D. 2019. Fouling mechanisms in constant flux crossflow ultrafiltration. Journal of Membrane Science, 574, 65-75.
Lu, D., Zhang, T. & Ma, J. 2015. Ceramic membrane fouling during ultrafiltration of oil/water emulsions: roles played by stabilization surfactants of oil droplets. Environmental Science and Technology, 49, 4235-4244.
Neamati, B., Fadaei, A., Sadighi, M., Sedehi, M. & Mengelizadeh, N. 2015. The study of enhanced coagulation process efficacy and direct filtration’s effectiveness on elimination of natural organic materials from surface waters. Journal of Shahrekord Uuniversity of Medical Sciences, 17, 66-75.
Rekabdar, F., Gheshlaghi, A., Hemmati, M., Reyhani, A. & Rajaei, F. 2014. The optimization of operating conditions in a membrane ultrafiltration system using Taguchi approach. Journal of Petroleum Research, 24, 108-120.
Sakol, D. & Konieczny, K. 2004. Application of coagulation and conventional filtration in raw water pretreatment before microfiltration membranes. Desalination, 162, 61-73.
Shen, X., Gao, B., Guo, K. & Yue, Q. 2020. Characterization and influence of floc under different coagulation systems on ultrafiltration membrane fouling. Chemosphere, 238, 124659.
Tang, C. Y., Yang, Z., Guo, H., Wen, J. J., Nghiem, L. D. & Cornelissen, E. 2018. Potable water reuse through advanced membrane technology. Environmental Science and Technology, 52, 10215-10223.
Tassinari, B., Conaghan, S., Freeland, B. & Marison, I. 2015. Application of turbidity meters for the quantitative analysis of flocculation in a jar test apparatus. Journal of Environmental Engineering, 141, 04015015.
Trinh, T. K. & Kang, L. S. 2011. Response surface methodological approach to optimize the coagulation–flocculation process in drinking water treatment. Chemical Engineering Research and Design, 89, 1126-1135.
Van Reis, R. & Zydney, A. 2007. Bioprocess membrane technology. Journal of Membrane Science, 297, 16-50.
Wu, Y., Zhang, Z., He, P., Ren, H., Wei, N., Zhang, F., et al. 2019. Membrane fouling in a hybrid process of enhanced coagulation at high coagulant dosage and cross-flow ultrafiltration for deinking wastewater tertiary treatment. Journal of Cleaner Production, 230, 1027-1035.
Xia, S., Li, X., Liu, R. & Li, G. 2005. Pilot study of drinking water production with ultrafiltration of water from the Songhuajiang River (China). Desalination, 179, 369-374.
Xiangli, Q., Zhenjia, Z., Nongcun, W., Wee, V., Low, M., Loh, C., et al. 2008. Coagulation pretreatment for a large-scale ultrafiltration process treating water from the Taihu River. Desalination, 230, 305-313.
Yong, M., Zhang, Y., Sun, S. & Liu, W. 2019. Properties of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) ultrafiltration membrane improved by lignin: hydrophilicity and antifouling. Journal of Membrane Science, 575, 50-59.
Zhao, S., Huang, G., Cheng, G., Wang, Y. & Fu, H. 2014. Hardness, COD and turbidity removals from produced water by electrocoagulation pretreatment prior to reverse osmosis membranes. Desalination, 344, 454-462.