Organic and inorganic micropollutants are rejected by high-pressure membranes, nanofiltration (NF) and reverse osmosis (RO), primarily as a consequence of solute–membrane interactions. These interactions include steric and electrostatic effects that depend on compound properties (e.g., molecular weight (MW) and ionic charge) and membrane properties (e.g., molecular weight cutoff (MWCO) and surface charge (zeta potential)), with the added influence of membrane operating conditions (e.g., recovery). This paper summarizes the rejection trends by several NF and RO membranes for a wide range of organic micropollutants based on hydrophobicity/hydrophilicity (octanol-water partition coefficient, KOW) and charge (neutral or negative), and a more narrow range of inorganic micropollutants in the form of oxyanions (chromate, arsenate and perchlorate) of varying MW and charge. While RO provided greater rejections of micropollutants than NF, observed NF rejections were, in many cases, significant. For oxyanions, rejection was mainly influenced by ionic charge and MW. RO properties generally had little influence while MWCO and zeta potential were both significantly influential for NF. For organic micropollutants, with exception of RO versus NF classifications, membrane properties were less influential than compound properties with greater rejections generally observed with increasing MW, KOW, and (negative) charge.
- reverse osmosis
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