Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2017TX511B

Effects of Salinity on Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC) Removal in Combined Biological Activated Carbon/Reverse Osmosis Systems

Institute: Texas
Year Established: 2017 Start Date: 2017-03-01 End Date: 2018-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $5,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $10,003

Principal Investigators: Audra Morse, Asef Redwan

Abstract: Reverse osmosis (RO) is one of the most practiced technologies used for salinity removal and is necessary for areas such as West Texas where surface waters are rich in salts. Membrane fouling is a major drawback of RO and results in increased operating costs. This can be mitigated in wastewater systems by pretreating water with biological activated carbon, but it is unknown whether biological activated carbon (BAC) is an appropriate pretreatment strategy for partially saline surface waters intended for RO and potable use. We propose a combined BAC-RO system to study: i) the effects of varying salinity concentrations on DOC removal in BAC and ii) how BAC permeate influences membrane flux and organic fouling in downstream RO systems. We will evaluate BAC using small-scale glass columns packed with activated carbon and will measure influent/effluent organic carbon concentration and size distribution. BAC permeate will be filtered through RO membranes, and fouling will be analyzed using SEM imaging. Both synthetic and actual West Texas surface water will be used for these studies and will allow for a better understanding of how salinity influences BAC-RO system performance.