A rapid small-scale evaluation of ultrafiltration (UF) performance with and without physical–chemical pre-treatment was performed to up-grade the conventional treatment used for drinking water production in Alcantarilha's water treatment works, Algarve, Portugal. Direct UF and pre-ozonation/coagulation/flocculation/sedimentation/UF (O/C/F/S/UF) were evaluated using polysulphone membranes of different apparent molecular weight cut-off (MWCO) (15–47 kDa). The results indicated that (i) UF is an effective barrier against microorganisms, including virus larger than 80 nm; (ii) for surface waters with low to moderate SUVA values, direct UF performance is equivalent or better than the conventional treatment in terms of residual turbidity, while UV254 nm and TOC residuals require the use of O/C/F/S/UF; (iii) the permeate quality improves with the membrane apparent MWCO decrease, especially for the direct UF, although the conventional treatment performance is never reached using UF; (iv) membrane fouling and adsorption phenomena are more severe in direct UF than in O/C/F/S/UF sequence (pre-ozonation decreases the membrane foulants by decreasing their hydrophobicity) and these phenomena increase with the membrane hydraulic permeability and, particularly, with the membrane apparent MWCO.
- Drinking water
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