Membrane treatment plants represent efficient and effective means of treating various source waters. Microfiltration (MF) and ultrafiltration (UF) membranes are capable of removing particulate, bacteria and some viruses. When membrane plants run well, water quality is consistent, production capacity is dependable, and consumers can count on water that is safe for use. Polymeric membrane filtration has been the go-to solution for membrane treatment plants due to relative affordability. In many cases, polymeric membranes are capable of providing high quality treated water. There are cases however, especially with challenging feed waters, where membranes are susceptible to reliability concerns such as fiber breakage and capacity loss. In these plants, significant staff time is dedicated to identifying leaking membranes, removing compromised modules, pinning broken fibers, and finally placing modules back into service. As this progresses and membranes struggle with irreversible fouling, a plant’s capacity continuously declines and ultimately water production becomes limited until the membranes must be replaced. Ceramic membranes provide another option for these struggling plants. For decades, ceramic membranes have been successfully deployed on a range of water treatment applications. Ceramics offer a robust membrane solution that will not suffer integrity issues and will not suffer capacity decline. Most early installations of ceramic membranes are still running today decades later and as a result, suppliers offer warranties up to 20 years. Several sizable ceramic drinking water plants across the world have recently come online. This growing adoption is due to the shifting economics of ceramic membranes. Recent technology advances, such as Nanostone’s CM-151TM, have made ceramic UF a lower lifecycle cost alternative to polymeric MF/UF membranes. Some ceramic membrane providers offer a product design that allows for seamless retrofitting of struggling membrane plants. One such plant, Canyon Regional Water Authority’s (CRWA) Lake Dunlap plant in Texas, will be discussed during this presentation. This 15 MGD plant had struggled with polymeric membranes for several years. The plant had dedicated considerable effort to managing the daily integrity test and the resulting fiber pinning effort. The plant suffered the steady loss in capacity over the years creating a growing supply gap to water stressed communities. CRWA decided to go with ceramic membranes for the benefits noted above. After over a year of operation, the ceramics have increased the plant’s production capacity while significantly reducing operational costs. Details of the retrofit and the resulting operational data will be shared along with a summary comparison versus the incumbent membrane system.
This presentation is available to AMTA Members only.
- Abigail Antolovich
- Nanostone Water, Inc.
- AMTA/SCMA Technology Transfer Workshop, Houston, TX
- AMTA/SCMA Technology Transfer Workshop
- Membranes, Ceramic, Water Treatment Upgrade