Virus removal retention challenge tests performed at lab scale and pilot scale during operation of membrane units

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The determination of the virus retention capabilities of UF units during operation is essential for the operators of drinking water treatment facilities in order to guarantee an efficient and stable removal of viruses through time. In previous studies, an effective method (MS2-phage challenge tests) was developed by the Water Research Center of Veolia Environnement for the measurement of the virus retention rates (Log Removal Rate, LRV) of commercially available hollow fiber membranes at lab scale. In the present work, the protocol for monitoring membrane performance was transferred from lab scale to pilot scale. Membrane performances were evaluated during pilot trial and compared to the results obtained at lab scale with fibers taken from the pilot plant modules. PFU culture method was compared to RT-PCR method for the calculation of LRV in both cases. Preliminary tests at lab scale showed that both methods can be used interchangeably. For tests conducted on virgin membrane, a good consistency was observed between lab and pilot scale results with the two analytical methods used. This work intends to show that a reliable determination of the membranes performances based on RT-PCR analytical method can be achieved during the operation of the UF units.

Keywords: membrane, meal time RT-PCR, virus challenge test, virus removal

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