Evaluation of flux stabilisation using Bio-UF membrane filter on KZN Rivers, South Africa

  • Thoola, Maipato I. ;
  • Rathilal, Sudesh ;
  • Pillay, Lingam V.
  • Received : 2015.12.16
  • Accepted : 2016.04.02
  • Published : 2016.07.25


South Africa recognises piped water as the main source of safe drinking water supply. Remote areas do not have access to this resource and they rely solely on surface water for survival, which exposes them to waterborne diseases. Interim point of use solutions are not practiced due to their laboriousness and alteration of the taste. Bio-ultra low pressure driven membrane system has been noted to be able to produce stable fluxes after one week of operation; however, there is limited literature on South African waters. This study was conducted on three rivers namely; Umgeni, Umbilo and Tugela. Three laboratory systems were setup to evaluate the performance of the technology in terms of producing stable fluxes and water that is compliant with the WHO 2008 drinking water guideline with regards to turbidity, total coliforms and E.coli. The obtained flux rate trends were similar to those noted in literature where they are referred to as stable fluxes. However, when further comparing the obtained fluxes to the normal dead-end filtration curve, it was noted that both the Umbilo and Tugela Rivers responded similarly to a normal dead-end filtration curve. The Umgeni River was noted to produce flux rates which were higher than those obtainable under normal dead-end. It can be concluded that there was no stabilisation of flux noted. However, feed water with low E.coli and turbidity concentrations enhances the flux rates. The technology was noted to produce water of less than 1 NTU and 100% removal efficiency for E.coli and total coliforms.


flux stabilisation;point of use;surface water treatment;remote rural areas;ultrafiltration membranes;Bio-UF


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