The aim of this study was to evaluate and quantify the filterability of suspended/soluble organic and suspended inorganic matter in a condition without and with chemical conditioning on membrane fouling using cake filtration model. The experiments were conducted with different feed water concentrations under a given TMP (0.2 to 0.5 bar). The fouling potential was examined and described in terms of resistance coefficient (α·W) and specific resistance (α). The results showed an increase of α·W and α within the concentration of wastewater samples tested. The soluble fractions in wastewater induced fouling and its mechanism was due both to the interaction of soluble organic components and also some of the particular colloids in MLSS, causing irreversible fouling, followed by thin film formation on membrane surfaces with low porosity, dense structure and also internal fouling. This phenomenon promoted the values of α·W and α from final treated wastewater 5–20 times higher than in bentonite suspension and on reservoir surface water. Higher pressure than 0.2 bar induced greater hydraulic resistance values than lower applied pressure. The pore size of the porous membrane did not show any difference in the values of α·W and α obtained, but they mostly depended on the water composition tested. The hydraulic resistance values appeared largely to minimise when using chemical conditioning because of cake forming as a dynamic membrane that reduced the irreversible fouling phenomena giving a constant filtration rate.
Keywords: clarification, filterability, frontal filtration, water and wastewater