Removal of N-nitrosamine by Nanofiltration and Reverse Osmosis Membranes
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The rejections of selected N-nitrosamines by commonly used high-pressure nanofiltration (NF) and reverse osmosis (RO) membranes were quantitatively evaluated using a bench-scale cross-flow filtration apparatus. The selected nitrosamines included N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), N-nitrosomethylethylamine (NMEA), N-nitrosopyrrolidine (NPYR), N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA), N-nitrosodi-n-propylamine (NDPA), N-nitrosodi-n-butylamine (NDBA) and N-nitrosodiphenylamine (NDPHA). Nitrosamine rejections were evaluated under steady state at elevated feed concentrations, since NDMA rejections were found to be consistent with feed concentrations over three orders of magnitude. The steady-state nitrosamine rejections by NF membranes varied significantly, from 9 to 75%, depending on nitrosamine compounds and tested membranes. For hydrophilic compounds, rejections increased with increasing molecular weight. The nitrosamine rejections by brackish RO membranes reached as high as 97% for higher molecular weight nitrosamines. However, for low molecular weight nitrosamines such as NDMA, rejections as low as 54% were observed. This low level of rejections was attributed to diffusive solute transport being more effective than convective transport. Physicochemical properties such as molecular weight and aqueous diffusivity showed reasonable correlations with nitrosamine permeability constants.