Evaluation of the MF/UF Performance for the Reuse of Sand Filter Backwash Water from Drinking Water Treatment Plants

Document Type : Research Paper


1 MSc Student of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Environment and Energy, Islamic Azad University, Sciences and Research Branch, Tehran

2 Assoc. Prof., Faculty of Environment and Energy, Islamic Azad University Sciences and Research Branch, Tehran

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


The aim of this study was to investigate the application of micro-filtration and ultra-filtration membrane systems in order to improve the physical and microbial quality and the reuse of backwash water from the sand filter units in water treatment plants. The backwash water from filters makes up for 3 to 5 percent of the total water treated, which is disposed in most WTPs. However, the treatment and reuse of the backwash water is more admissible from technical and economic viewpoints, especially in view of the present water scarcity. For the purposes of this study, use was made of membrane modules of micro- and ultra-filters on a pilot scale. The micro-filter employed consisted of a polypropylene membrane module with a porosity of 1 micron in size and a fiberglass module with a porosity of 5 microns. The ultra-filter was made of PVC hollow fiber with a molecular weight of 100,000 Dalton. In order to feed the two pilots, backwash water from a sand filter was collected from one of the WTPs in Tehran. After samples were taken from the backwash water, the physical and microbial removal efficiency was periodically evaluated based on the standard method and the micro-filtration, ultra-filtration, and combined MF/UF processes were compared with respect to their performance. The results indicate that the combined MF/UF process is able to decrease turbidity, MPN, COD, TSS, and Fe with efficiency values of 99.9, 100, 61.5, 99.9 and 98.8 percent, respectively. Overall, the findings confirmed the technical capabilities of this method for the recovery and reuse of the effluent produced in the backwashing mechanism of sand filters in WTPs.


Main Subjects

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