Ultrafiltration – Membrane Filtration Series

In wastewater treatment, Ultrafiltration (UF) is a variety of membrane separation process using semi permeable membrane with a pore size of around 0.01 micron. The membrane allows the water and low molecular weight solutes to pass through whereas suspended solids and solutes with high molecular weight are retained or left behind. When producing potable water, or class A recycled water from raw water with high suspended solids, UF is often integrated into the process. UF is used as a primary filtration process (screening, flotation and filtration) and sometimes as pre-treatment for advanced water treatment processes (see chart below).

Industries using Ultrafiltration

When water processing is intensive, the industry standard practice includes using UF, which is meant to remove dissolved and undissolved solids from water. Industries that use high volumes of water or discharge highly toxic wastewater often use UF to process water for reuse.  The chemical industry, steel, plastics, paper/pulp, pharmaceutical, food & beverage industry (including soft drinks and canned food) all use ultrafiltration in their water treatment process.

UF can be applied for wastewater treatment for mine vehicle wash, equipment wash effluent, mechanical workshop effluent, industrial wash, potable water treatment, sewage treatment, activated sludge clarification, desalination, wastewater treatment from wash bays, and biologically treated municipal water, amongst other applications.

Ultrafiltration is frequently used as a pre-filtration in Reverse Osmosis Desalination plants. It is also often used to pretreat surface water, sea water and biologically treated municipal water upstream of the reverse osmosis unit. UF is an effective means of reducing the silt density index of water, removing particulates that can hamper the RO process.

Particle Filtration, Enviro Concepts, Filtration

Ultrafiltration Application

When wastewater with high suspended solids has to be treated, UF is often used as a preferred process due to the following reasons:

  • Consistent water quality regardless of feed quality
  • The process is capable of exceeding regulatory standards of water quality, achieving over 98% pathogen removal. Ultrafiltration removes all bacteria, protozoa and some viruses from the water.
  • Compact plant size
  • Apart from cleaning, no chemicals are needed in the process.
  • It is very efficient and can simultaneously concentrate and purify molecules

Enviro Concepts provides customised modular, skid-mounted or containerised packages with Ultrafiltration built into the water treatment system. The UF systems can be adapted to add other water treatment systems within the footprint of the container.

Download the UF Specification sheet here. You can also access our Filtration post, Particle Filtration and Reverse Osmosis posts as part of this series. For queries for your water treatment needs, contact us for a Free Estimate.