This paper presents an experimental study aimed at estimating the efficiency of the innovative process of ultrafiltration (UF) combined with sonication (Son.) for the refinement of treated effluent to be reused in wet textile processes. Such a novel approach, which has not yet been employed on a full industrial scale, has been experienced at pilot scale on the secondary effluent of the Baciacavallo wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), which treats part of the effluent from one of the largest textile industry districts in Italy. The combined treatment efficiency was assessed both on ozonated and non-ozonated Baciacavallo secondary effluent. The membrane filtration process was optimized in terms of running time, backwash, chemical addition and cleaning procedures. The sonication treatment was optimized on laboratory-scale with synthetic solutions (demineralized water added with dyestuffs) in terms of hydroxyl radicals formation rate, frequency, acoustic power, hydrogen peroxide addition, contact time and pH. The optimal conditions have been applied on the pilot-scale sonicator which was used in combination with the UF treatment. According to the experimental results, the best configuration within the Baciacavallo WWTP was the sonication of non-ozonated wastewater followed by the UF. The combined treatment guaranteed the compliance with the target values for wastewater reuse in wet textile industries. This study is part of the Research Project PURIFAST (Purification of industrial and mixed wastewater by combined membrane filtration and sonochemical technologies) LIFE + ENV/IT/000439.
Keywords: filtration, membrane, reuse, sonication, textile, wastewater