Ultrafiltration in Heavy Metals Treatment

Ultrafiltration in Heavy Metals Treatment


Ultrafiltration membranes provide an efficient, compact way to treat industrial wastewater to make it pure enough for discharge or recycling. Machining processes produce large volumes of sludge containing heavy metals. Without treatment, this sludge must be hauled away and the wastewater cannot be reused.

Ultrafiltration technology separates and concentrates insoluble metals, reducing the heavy metals in wastewater to low enough levels to allow discharge of the wastewater.

The Challenge

Provide a cost-effective alternative to conventional chemical/physical heavy metals wastewater treatment, a labor intensive and unreliable process.

The Solution

The separation and concentration of heavy metals from wastewater is a proven application of ultrafiltration membrane technology. Koch Membrane Systems’ (KMS) industrial tubular ultrafiltration systems, incorporating ULTRA-COR, INDU-COR, and FEG PLUS membrane modules, are capable of treating a variety of wastewater streams laden with heavy metals.

Metal solubility varies with pH. In an ultrafiltration-based wastewater treatment system, the pH is first raised to precipitate metals out of the solution. The wastewater stream is then sent on to the ultrafiltration system, where insoluble metals are easily retained and concentrated by the ultrafiltration membranes.

One or more membrane technologies can be combined to remove these impurities, decreasing contaminants in discharge streams, or recovering clean water for recycling back into the plant.

Systems to treat streams contaminated with heavy oil and grease, such as found in the metalworking industry, typically are configured with tubular membranes.

Maximizing Efficiency

Tubular ultrafiltration membranes ensure consistent permeate quality in tough industrial environments. The use of membranes in heavy metals treatment eliminates the need for flocculants that produce a large volume of sludge, which must be removed from the site. The membrane provides a physical barrier that precipitated metals cannot penetrate, even when wastewater varies and metal concentration spikes occur. The resulting concentrations of heavy metals in permeate are acceptable for discharge by most regulatory agencies.

Process Flow Diagram