Membrane Processes

Targeting Contaminant Removal

Membrane system

Membranes are used in water treatment to separate contaminants from water based on properties such as size or charge. Common membrane processes include microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration, reverse osmosis, and electrodialysis.

The Role of Membranes in Potable Reuse

Water utilities are examining potable reuse as part of their master plan updates, looking at when and how potable reuse may become viable in the future. 

The removal of trace constituents may be required in certain reuse applications such as aquifer recharge, surface water augmentation, direct potable reuse, and in industrial applications. Advanced technologies currently being adopted for removal of trace constituents include membrane bioreactors, MF, UF coupled with NF and RO membranes, and advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) that allow treatment to the quality level fit for the intended use.

AWWA M62 Membrane Applications for Water Reuse presents a comprehensive description of the issues related to applying membrane technologies in water reuse projects.

AMTA/AWWA Membrane Technology Conference Proceedings

  • Effects of Chloramines and Bromamines Residuals on RO Membranes in Potable Reuse (AMTA/AWWA Membrane Technology Conference, 2019)
  • Advancing the Development of Direct Potable Reuse (AMTA/AWWA Membrane Technology Conference, 2019)
  • Overcoming Compliance Challenges for RO Pathogen removal Using Conductivity Profiles (AMTA/AWWA Membrane Technology Conference, 2019)

Additional resources: Resource Topic - Potable Reuse


Desalination of Seawater

As worldwide fresh water supplies become increasingly stressed and world populations continue to grow, seawater desalination has become an increasingly sought-after alternative for new water supply in coastal areas. While three-quarters of the globe is covered with water, less than 0.3 percent is considered a renewable freshwater supply. More than half of the population in the United States lives within 50 miles (80 kilometers) of a coast, so the use of seawater as a source for potable water production is of great interest, especially in areas with stressed and overdrawn freshwater resources. 

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Inland Desalination and Concentrate Management

The increased use of inland desalination has created a need for advancements in reliable, cost-effective, and environmentally sensitive means of concentrate management. Coastal desalination facilities often discharge residual concentrate to the ocean; however, with inland facilities, concentrate conveyance lines to coastal areas are often cost prohibitive, requiring alternative concentrate disposal options or the use of costly zero liquid discharge (ZLD) technologies to eliminate concentrate discharge.

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2020 Water Quality Technology Conference, November 15-19, Schaumburg, Illinois (Northwest Chicago suburbs)

AWWA Policy Statements

AWWA's policy statements are brief statements on protecting and improving water supply, water quality, management, and the interests of the public and the environment. They are written by consensus, subject to review and comment by AWWA committees, councils, and members. Because they represent AWWA's position on these matters, they are approved by the AWWA Executive Committee of the board of directors

Technical Committee Engagement

AWWA members are recognized globally for their industry expertise and their generosity in sharing that expertise for a better world through better water. AWWA members participate in committee activities, developing conference programs, writing technical manuals, developing standards, creating educational content and contributing to AWWA publications. Committee members primarily interact through conference calls, emails, and face to face meetings at conferences and events. Access more information on volunteering for an AWWA committee.

The following committees are active in addressing membrane process issues


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