Comparison of sand and membrane filtration as non-chemical pre-treatment strategies for pesticide removal with nanofiltration/low pressure reverse osmosis membranes

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Pilot plant investigations of sand and membrane filtration (microfiltration (MF)/ultrafiltration (UF)/nanofiltration (NF)/low pressure reverse osmosis (LPRO)) have been performed to treat groundwater polluted with pesticides. The results show that simple treatment, with use of aeration and sand filtration or MF/UF membranes, does not remove pesticides. However, by reducing the content of key foulants, the techniques can be used as a pre-treatment for nanofiltration and low pressure reverse osmosis that has proved to be capable of removing pesticides. It was found that a lower fouling potential could be obtained by using the membranes, but that sand filter was better at removing manganese and dissolved organic matter. The results indicate that combining aeration, sand filtration and membrane techniques might be a good option for pesticide removal without any addition of chemicals and minimized membrane maintenance.

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