Ultrafiltration (UF) forms part of Veolia’s family of membrane processes for water treatment and forms part of its ranges of tubular membranes. UF is a filtration process used in water treatment that helps remove particulates and macromolecules from untreated water for potable water (drinking water) production, among many others. Ultrafiltration membrane filtration uses either pressure forces or concentration gradients to enable separation through semipermeable membranes. Suspended solids and high molecular weight solutes are retained while the water and low molecular weight solutes pass through.

In many instances, ultrafiltration membranes are used for pre-filtration purposes in reverse osmosis (RO) plants to protect the RO membranes. Used after the clarification stage ultrafiltration, along with microfiltration and nanofiltration, is used for the biological, physical and mechanical separation of solids from treated water.

Ultrafiltration can be used to supplement reverse osmosis (RO) water treatment. Veolia’s RO installations account for about 15% of the world's total desalination capacity. 

Ultrafiltration Benefits

UF can be used to replace existing secondary and tertiary filtration systems used in water treatment plants. When treating water with high suspended solids, it can be integrated into processes by using primary and some secondary treatments as pre-treatment stages.

Ultrafiltration provides several advantages over traditional water treatment methods:

  • With the exception of cleaning, no chemicals are required
  • It produces constant product quality regardless of the feed water quality
  • UF is capable of exceeding the regulatory standards of water quality. It can achieve between 90 and 100% pathogen removal.
  • It can be used for pre-filtration in reverse osmosis plants to protect the reverse osmosis membranes.

A disadvantage is that high costs can be incurred due to membrane fouling and replacement requirements.

Ultrafiltration Applications

Similarly to other membrane separation processes used in filtration applications for water treatment, Veolia’s ultrafiltration technology is used for:

  • Seawater desalination
  • Process and potable water production
  • Boiler feedwater and pharmaceutical water polishing and demineralisation
  • Process and municipal effluent rehabilitation and recycling
  • As part of an integrated zero liquid discharge process 

Ultrafiltration Technologies

UFLEX™, Veolia’s skid-mounted ultrafiltration system is used in industrial process water, water recycling and water for reuse to remove suspended solids, log4 viruses and most bacteria. 

OPAMEM ULTRA, also skid-mounted compact ultrafiltration systems, is used for drinking water treatment and water reuse. 

The chemicals that Veolia uses and distributes for use with its microfiltration membranes – and other membranes – fall in the Hydrex™ 4000 series. This series has been especially developed for ultrafiltration plants, as well as reverse osmosis and nanofiltration

Veolia South Africa Ultrafiltration Case Studies

ImproChem, Chevron Refinery, Cape Town

Situated in Milnerton in the Western Cape, this project involved the design, construction and commissioning of an ultrafiltration plant and reverse osmosis desalination plant as part of a petrochemical water treatment project. Ultrafiltration is one of the processes used to treat water drawn from a nearby wastewater treatment plant. Read the full case study here.

Angola Containerised treatment plant

Veolia designed, constructed and commissioned a 20 m3/hour containerised potable water treatment plant using several key technologies, ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis among them.

Eskom Tutuka Power Station, Mpumalanga

Veolia designed, constructed and commissioned a power plant water treatment system at Eskom’s Tutuka Power Station in Mpumalanga to reduce the amount of brine water produced at the power station to 0.6 mega litres a day. Ultrafiltration is one of the 6 Veolia technologies used in this plant. Read the full case study here.

Find out more about our Ultrafiltration processes today!

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