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Current IssueSeptember 03, 2015
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Ask The Expert: Hollow fiber MF and UF membrane treatment options

We are a pharmaceutical company manufacturing various medicines. We are thinking of using hollow fiber membrane ultrafiltration for the pretreatment of incoming water supplies (surface water, source lake). Sometimes we get high turbidity (10 NTU), especially in monsoon (our raining season), whereas normally we get < 2.0 NTU. We perform in-house chlorination to control microbial load in the form of pseudomonas, etc. Could you please advise if such a system (hollow fiber membrane ultrafiltration) is capable of combating the high turbidity and microbiological contamination issues?And whether this could replace our existing inline chlorination and multimedia filtration treatment processes? What are the limitations/disadvantages of the hollow fiber membrane ultrafiltration technique? Thank you very much in advance for your reply.

Adil Imtiaz, Assist Manager Safety Health & Environmental Protection Technical Division, Roche Pakistan Limited



Hollow fiber MF and UF membranes are very effective in reducing turbidity in surface water supplies. They have become the technologies of choice to meet the Safe Drinking Water Act amendments for surface water supplies in the US. While extremely effective against particulates and requiring very little pretreatment, high concentrations of TOC can foul them. In this case, pretreatment will probably be required. The important thing is to get a worst-case water analysis and perhaps run a pilot test.

Peter S. Cartwright, P.E., CWS-VI

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