Membrane Care

Sept. 16, 2011

About the author:

Caitlin Cunningham is managing editor of Water & Wastes Digest. Cunningham can be reached at [email protected] or 847.391.1025.

Membranes are not install-and-forget solutions. These investments warrant consistent, specialized monitoring and maintenance. And given the proper care, they are likely to return the favor with full-power performance over a long lifetime.

Much like plaque can clog our arteries and reduce blood flow, insoluble contaminants can build up in membrane pores, hindering water flow and the purification process. Even with pretreatment and chemistry controls in place, membrane facilities are wise to develop and adhere to a comprehensive monitoring and maintenance program that protects their technologies and, ultimately, water quality.

Knowledge is power: Read up on the category and brand of membrane technology selected (e.g., its permeability, foulants of particular concern, life expectancy and service requirements). Then consider this information in relation to the application at hand (e.g., its feedwater quality, flow rate, recovery percentage and manpower) to optimize design and operation.

Once the technology is in place, call in the experts to install a tracking program or to conduct regularly scheduled inspections. Establish a customized cleaning routine as well, and follow through on it. In many cases, clean-inplace systems can help keep this regimen manageable.

Preserving membrane technology is a worthwhile priority. Monitoring and maintenance best practices help protect big-ticket infrastructure, preventing irreversible damage that can trigger performance headaches, reduce life span, drain budgets and jeopardize water quality.

How does your facility keep tabs on and care for its membrane technology? What design, operation, monitoring and maintenance tips and tricks can you offer your peers? The Water & Wastes Digest editorial staff welcomes your comments and questions at [email protected].

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About the Author

Caitlin Cunningham