Performance of membrane filtration in the removal of iron and manganese from Malaysia's groundwater

  • Kasim, Norherdawati ;
  • Mohammad, Abdul Wahab ;
  • Abdullah, Siti Rozaimah Sheikh
  • Received : 2015.08.03
  • Accepted : 2016.03.22
  • Published : 2016.07.25


The aim of this research was to investigate the ability of nanofiltration (NF) and ultrafiltration (UF) membranes as a filtration unit for groundwater treatment for drinking water resources. Commercial membranes denoted as TS40, TFC-SR3 and GHSP were used to study the performance based on rejections and fluxes. The investigation has been conducted using natural groundwater obtained from a deep tube well with initial concentration of iron (Fe) and manganese (Mn) at 7.15 mg/L and 0.87 mg/L, respectively. Experimental results showed that NF membranes exhibited higher fluxes than UF membrane with pure water permeability at 4.68, 3.99 and $3.15L.m^{-2}.h^{-1}.bar^{-1}$, respectively. For metal rejection, these membranes have performed higher removal on Fe with TS40, TFC-SR3 and GHSP membranes having more than 82%, 92% and 86% respectively. Whereas, removal on Mn only achieved up to 60%, 80% and 30%, for TS40, TFC-SR3 and GHSP membranes respectively. In order to achieve drinking water standard, the membranes were efficient in removing Fe ion at 1 and 2 bar in contrast with Mn ion at 4 and 5 bar. Higher rejection of Fe and Mn were achieved when pH of feed solution was increased to more than 7 as TFC-SR3 membrane was negatively charged in basic solution. This effect could be attributed to the electrostatic effect interaction between membrane material and rejected ions. In conclusion, this study proved that NF membrane especially the TFC-SR3 membrane successfully treated local groundwater sources for public drinking water supply in line with the WHO standard.


iron and manganese;drinking water;groundwater treatment;membrane filtration


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Supported by : Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia