Membrane fouling control in low pressure membranes: A review on pretreatment techniques for fouling abatement

Arhin, Samuel Gyebi;Banadda, Noble;Komakech, Allan John;Kabenge, Isa;Wanyama, Joshua

  • Received : 2016.02.01
  • Accepted : 2016.06.07
  • Published : 2016.06.30


Conventional treatment techniques cannot meet the stringent modern water quality regulations emanating from the need to provide high quality drinking water. Therefore, a number of studies have suggested low pressure membrane filtration as a worthwhile alternative. However, a major constraint to the extensive use of this technology in low and middle income countries is the high operating and maintenance costs caused by the inherent predisposition to membrane fouling. Notwithstanding, pretreatment of feed water using techniques such as coagulation, adsorption, oxidation and bio-filtration is believed to control fouling. In this review paper, the existing scientific knowledge on membrane fouling and pretreatment techniques for controlling fouling in low pressure membranes is analyzed with the aim of providing new and valuable insights into such techniques, as well as unveiling crucial issues noteworthy for further studies. Among the techniques reviewed, coagulation was observed to be the most cost-effective and will remain the most dominant in the coming years. Although oxidants and magnetic ion exchange resins can also control fouling, the propensity of oxidants to form health treating precursors and the high economic implications of magnetic ion exchange resins will hinder their adoption in developing countries.


Fouling control;Low pressure membranes;Membrane fouling;Pretreatment techniques;Water quality


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Supported by : Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (REFORUM)