In the last decades, the development of advanced analytical techniques has revealed
the presence of micro-contaminants (MCs) in effluents from municipal wastewater
treatment plants (MWTPs), which represents a significant challenge to wastewater reclamation
as biological treatments attain only partial removal of MCs. The application of tertiary
treatments for refining these waters so as to avoid MCs reaching both irrigation systems
and water natural bodies is widely studied. In this chapter, an overview of the combination
of different membranes with advanced oxidation processes and conventional
physicochemical treatments for the improvement of MCs removal efficiency is assessed.
In addition, membrane fouling effects, progress in analytical monitoring techniques and
brief economic considerations have been also tackled. Pressure-driven membrane processes
for MCs retention is discussed focusing microfiltration (MF)/ultrafiltration (UF), nanofiltration (NF), reverse
osmosis (RO), forward osmosis (FO) and membrane distillation (MD) systems. Reviewed physicochemical
processes included adsorption on activated carbon; coagulation/flocculation and chlorination/ozonation also
integrated with membranes processes. Membrane bioreactors integrated with other membrane systems as NF or
RO showed high removal rates (99%) for all compounds looked over. Different advanced oxidation processes
as pre-treatment stage for mainly avoiding fouling and as post-treatment of the membrane rejection stream is
also discussed. Integration of membranes with photo-reactors by both photocatalytic membranes and hybrid
systems coupling photocatalysis and membrane processes (for retaining the powdered TiO2 in the photoreactor)
has been also addressed in this chapter. Economical and regulation considerations in different countries and EU
are discussed as the final and conclusive section of this work.
Keywords: Advanced analytical techniques, advanced oxidation processes, membrane biological reactor, micro-contaminants,
microfiltration/ultrafiltration, nanofiltration, reverse osmosis, photocatalytic membranes.
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