Desalination 149 (2002) 137–143

Experimental campaigns on textile wastewater for reuse
by means of different membrane processes
M. Marcucci*, G. Ciardelli, A. Matteucci, L. Ranieri, M. Russo
Tecnotessile S.r.l., via del Gelso 13, I-59100 Prato, Italy
Tel. +39 (0574) 634040, Fax +39 (0574) 634045; email:

Received 7 February; accepted 4 April 2002

The experimental results of the pilot scale application of different membrane technologies, supported by
clariflocculation and ozonization, for textile wastewater reuse are described. The investigation has been carried out
by treating two different textile effluents: a secondary effluent coming from a biological activated plant and a
wastewater coming directly from several textile departments. In the first case the pilot plant used sand filtration and
microflitration (MF) as pre-treatments for nanofiltration (NF). The MF and NF membranes tested were of the spiral
wound type. The NF permeate can be reused in all production steps, including dyeing with light coloration. In the
second case, the chemical-physical pre-treatment and the advanced treatment of water have been experimented for
different kind of wastewater (from the carbonising process, from dyeing and fulling). The most interesting experimental
results were obtained from the treatment of wastewater from the carbonising process. A scheme process in which
ultrafiltration (UF) with flat membranes operating under vacuum is placed downstream an ozonization treatment has
been evaluated. The UF permeate quality was suitable to the reuse in production processes.
Keywords: Wastewater treatment; Ultrafiltration; Nanofiltration; Ozonization; Colour removal

1. Introduction
1.1. Textile wastewater characteristics
In Europe, increasing water consumption for
industrial and domestic uses is leading to potential
water shortage in many countries. European in*Corresponding author.

dustries are also faced with increasing costs for
water supply and wastewater depuration and with
more stringent controls on industrial effluent
pollution, in accordance to the European Union
legislation in force [1].
Textile factories are among the largest industrial
consumers of water: typically 0.2–0.5 m3 of water
are needed to produce 1 kg of finished product

Presented at the International Congress on Membranes and Membrane Processes (ICOM), Toulouse, France,
July 7–12, 2002.
0011-9164/02/$– See front matter © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved

a MF step was placed upstream a NF process.2. water needs further treatments (called tertiary or advanced treatments) [4]. it is extremely important to prevent fouling and module damage by the use of effective pre-treatments. • In the second case study. In fact. The authors performed several experimental campaigns and. bacteria. Marcucci et al. / Desalination 149 (2002) 137–143 [2]. The aim of the study was to verify the economical feasibility of the implementation of the membrane processes for the treatment and reuse of textile effluents into productive cycles. such as clarification. such as ultrafiltration or microfiltration [5]. several treatments. Textile effluents contain many chemical substances coming from desizing. First case study The wastewater coming from dyeing departments is treated by means of a biological activated sludge plant. for a secondary effluent coming from a biological activated plant. Textile wastewater is usually treated in an activated sludge plant to allow wastewater discharge within law requirements but not in order to produce a final effluent suitable for reuse in the textile processes. removing suspended particles (microorganism. their amounts depending on the kind of process that generates the effluent [3]. in order to have water that can be recycled in production cycles (especially dyeing processes). 1. Reverse osmosis (RO) and nanofiltration (NF) were studied as treatment of secondary textile effluents after a suitable pre-treatment. MF and UF are generally proposed as RO pretreatment [6]. a considerable amount of recalcitrant contaminants still remain in biologically treated textile effluents. electrolysis. In order to maintain the membrane efficiency and consequently decrease the costs related to the membrane module replacement. according to their knowledge. Secondary effluents are discharged . for a wastewater coming directly from carbonization departments. Ultrafiltration (UF) is effective for removal of particles and molecules of dimensions higher than 10 nm. printing and finishing processes. colloids). which is widespread throughout Europe. Microfiltration (MF) allows a simple clarification of the effluent. The choice of the most suitable membrane process on a technical-economic point of view for the textile wastewater treatment and reuse is often validated by carrying out experimental campaigns on a pilot scale. inorganic particles. Moreover textile wastewater quality is variable with time and may include many types of dyes. Materials and methods 2. sulphide compounds. is a good candidate for development of intensive water recycling and minimization of related polluting emissions. solvents. such as ozonation. sand filtration and ozonization.138 M.1. Therefore. The techniques which have been experimented and applied to the textile effluents treatment in order to produce water to be reused in production. textile industry. Membrane processes for treatment and reuse of textile effluents The interest in membrane processes applied to textile wastewater reuse is increasing thanks to the recent technological innovations that render them reliable and economically feasible in alternative to other systems. Fenton’s reagent oxidation. 2. detergents.1. This paper concerns with the application of two different membrane technologies in a pilotscale plant as a tertiary treatment of two different textile effluents: • In the first case study. viruses and proteins. heavy metals and inorganic salts. Textile effluents tested 2. dyeing. membrane technologies turned out to be the most interesting ones. were placed as pre-treatment for a UF treatment. Several approaches have been proposed to implement membrane technology to the treatment of textile wastewater from different production streams.1. are numerous. So. flotation.

The NF concentrate was 35– 40% of the inlet flow. Membranes 2. Pilot plant 2. At the present. for the treatment of biological effluent in different operative conditions (ozone dosage. Second case study A part of the wastewater (900 l/h) was treated in a pilot plant composed by: • A chemical-physical pretreatment. Filtered water was stored in a tank and then sent to the MF module.1. The membrane was 98. Each membrane was 101. 2.1.1 CS with flat polyvinyldenefluoride (PVDF) membranes. contact times between water and ozone).0 bar relative pressure.2.500 m3/d and it is satisfied with well water. MF and NF. 2. 139 The total filtrating area of the module was 47 m2. The filtrating area was 8.1. was used.2.5 bar. The MF effluent was stored in a second tank and sent to the NF module which operated at 6. that operated at a relative pressure of about 3.016 mm in length.000 m3/d) and the increase in perspective of the supplying and depuration costs have given a remarkable impulse to start an experimentation on the pilot scale. / Desalination 149 (2002) 137–143 to surface water in the respect of law limits. Chemicals used were: • Alkaline detergent (1–2%) for removal organic material (fouling). consisting in coagulation. Secondary case study The treatment of wastewater coming from a carbonization textile industry has been evaluated. Marcucci et al. The total filtrating area of the module was 11 m2. The average MF permeate flow was 400 l/h. First case study The pilot plant consisted of three stages: sand filtration.2. . flocculation (at controlled pH condition).4 m2 and the MWCO was 200 Da. • Acid detergent (1–2%) for removal inorganic particles (scaling). The elevated consumption of water used in the carbonization processes (about 2. The water requirement of the industry is about 1.000 m3/d).016 mm in length.3. The MF membranes were automatically washed with the nanofiltration permeate for 30 s every 40 min.2.6 mm in diameter and 1. settling by means of a lamellar settler and sand filtration.2. A part of the effluent from the biological activated sludge plant was sent to the sand filter (2 bar relative pressure). 2. It has been finalised to work out a specific and innovative treatment in order to recycle a large amount of water (at least 1.M. operating under vacuum. The quality of ozonizated water was not excellent so membrane filtration technologies were tested. In a preliminary phase a different treatment was evaluated. Nanofiltration: an Osmonics Desal DL4040F membrane of the spiral-wound type was used for NF step.3.2. 2. It consisted in sand filtration and ozonization. Due to problems of water shortage.6 mm in diameter and 1. First case study Microfiltration: a module with two Celgard NADIR P150F spiral-wound membranes placed in series was used for MF. Characteristic molecular weight cut-off was 70.3.5–7. Second case study Ultrafiltration: a Filterpar FLAMEC filter FF2C. The molecular weight cut-off (MWCO) was 150 kDa. 2. wastewater coming from productive activities is directly discharged to a municipal depuration plant. it was decided to test new advanced wastewater treatments on the pilot scale in order to reuse textile effluents in manufacturing processes.000 Da. The membranes were chemically washed as soon as the hydraulic performance worsened.

colour. imputable to the presence of oxidised compounds.1.2.5 4 3. using the ozonizated water (first approach) and NF permeate. total hardness.4. total suspended solids and COD of the wastewater induced to adopt a complex pretreatment for the UF process (clariflocculation + sand filtration + ozonization). / Desalination 149 (2002) 137–143 • An ozonization treatment. Results and discussion 3. Characteristic MF and NF permeate flow-rate and operating pressures for the first case study. total suspended solids (SST).5 6 5. The filtered effluent was sent to an oxidation process in order to remove the organic pollutants and the colour by ozone. 2.1. 3. The working cycle of the both membrane steps. The characteristic variations with time of MF and NF permeate flowrate and operating pressures are shown in Fig. The same tests were carried out on an industrial scale using a 10 kg dyeing machine. conductivity.140 M.2. medium and light colours on the laboratory scale.1. It can be asserted from the periodic observations of the UF working cycle that: . medium and light colours on 100% wool. the initial permeate flux is re-established. Membranes hydraulic performance 3. 0 50 100 150 200 250 7 6. It has been necessary to introduce an ultrafiltration treatment after ozonization. After the chemical washing.5 5 4. Effluents analysis NF 500 400 300 200 100 2.1. turbidity. The dotted lines indicate the interruption of the operating cycle in correspondence of the chemical washing of the membranes (every ~100 h).5 3 300 Pressure [bar] MF 600 Permeate flow [l/h] Chemical oxygen demand (COD). The positive values correspond to the back-washing phase. were carried out on the pilot scale by means of a laboratory machine that dyes 10 g of hank. because of the presence of a residual turbidity in the ozonized water. First case study Several dyeing tests.5. Second case study The UF permeate was used in dyeing experiments for dark. Second case study The UF membrane process must assure an optimal permeate quality maintaining good performance in terms of permeate flux and operating pressures. The fibres used for the tests were wool and cotton. • A finishing sand filtration. was monitored for 530 h measuring the permeate flows before and after the cleaning of the membranes with chemical detergents. 1. The time dependence of the UF operating pressure is shown in Fig. Time (h) Fig.5. MF and NF.1. chlorides and surfactants were determined in both experimental campaigns to evaluate the efficiency of the proposed treatments. • An ultrafiltration.5. 3. First case study The high values of turbidity. operating under pressure. The MF and NF operating pressures remain nearly constant with the increasing of the membrane fouling. 2. 1. The dyeing tests were made for dark. During the trials the definition of the coagulant and the relative optimal dosage were determined. Dyeing tests 2. Marcucci et al. pH. 2.

3 94 a Non-ionic surfactants as bismuth-iodine active substances (IRSA method 5160-ISO 7875/2 1st ed.1 CS UF module in the second case study. 3. 3 represents the contributions of the various treatment stages to the total removal of some polluting parameters. 2 0 Parameters 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 11 -0. 4 Time (min) Fig. in the first case study 0. NTU Conductivity.1. • Microfiltration permeate outlet. / Desalination 149 (2002) 137–143 Pressure (bar) 0. • The absolute value of the UF operating and back-washing pressure gradually increased and stabilised according with the fouling of the membrane. The use of sand filtration and of MF is fundamental in the reduction of suspended solids Sampling point 1 2 6.1 1150 9 6 29 260 100 1.5 582 2 2 5 11 78 0. • Sand filtration outlet. mg/l Colourc removal. mg/l BIASa.7 66 21 4. °F Mg2+. • Ozonization inlet. mg/l MBASb. First case study To test the performance of the pilot plant configuration. • The membranes were never chemically washed since there was not a significant increase of the operating pressure. mg/l Chlorides.. 4 0. Characteristic operating pressure of the FLAMEC FF2C.1 0. The percentages are referred to the sand filter input.1 0. Second case study Sampling of the effluent was performed to test the purification efficiency of the plant configuration. 2. • The back-washing started every 30 min even if the absolute value of the operating pressure was almost constant as evidence of the good purification efficiency of the ultrafiltration’s pre-treatment. d Absorbance at 420 nm. 6 141 Table 1 Average values of chemical-physical analyses at the various sampling points. mg/l Turbidity.1 12 <5 0.2 62 9 2. COD is removed partially by sand filtration and MF (30%) and quite completely after NF.4 0. mg/l Ca2+. Table 1 reports the average results of the chemical-physical analyses of the effluents showing the efficiency of the plant system in producing a NF permeate of good quality. The histogram in Fig.4 42 <5 0. b Anionic surfactants as methilene blue active substances (IRSA method 5150-ISO 7875/1 1st ed. is removed almost completely by NF (81%). Contaminants removal 3.2.9 Ref. • The FLAMEC FF2C. The following sampling points were chosen: Untreated wastewater from carbonization process. mg/l Sulphates. .2.1 CS module guarantees a constant UF permeate flux. Marcucci et al. c Integral of the absorbance curve in the whole visible range (400–800 nm). 6. • Nanofiltration permeate outlet. 2 pH COD. 3.4 — 9 5 26 — 100 — — 0 3 6. • UF permeate.M.2. • UF inlet. 1984). 1984).2. % -0.6 13 4 6. mg/l O2 TSS.. sampling of the effluents was performed at the following four points: • Sand filtration inlet. Colour. µs/cm Total hardness. (100%) and turbidity (78%). one of the most important parameters in checking textile wastewater quality for reuse.9 — 8 4 26 — 88 1.

dyeing . They gave different results: • 100% ozonizated water can be used only in some dyeing steps processes (washing. to the removal of some parameters. b Anionic surfactants as methilene blue active substances (IRSA method 5150-ISO 7875/11th ed. which is of strategic importance for the success of the purification process.1. b) ozonization.9 660 121 63 2938 — 33. 4. 3. b) microfiltration. High removal of turbidity (27%) and total suspended solids (30%) by means of UF membrane process.9 1017 173 123 2702 — 30. Pretreatment Ozonization 100 27 80 19 60 23 16 50 38 15 40 71 30 49 35 30 10 Parameters pH COD. / Desalination 149 (2002) 137–143 MF NF 10% • 45% 50% 67% 44% 10% M r BA S AS es id or ne rd ha 13% • • To t al C hl iv ct du 22% 21% 12% ss ity D C O C on ity rb id Tu 11% BI 12% 6% • 11% 30% 41% ou 57% 81% 33% Fig.2 0. Contributions of the three stages of depuration treatment: a) chiariflocculation + sand filtration.2 0.8 512 56 34 2956 — 20. NTU Conductivity..8 2778 25 19. to the removal of some parameters.5 2. µs/cm Total hardness. c) ultrafiltration.D .092 8. The percentages are referred to the pretreatment input.0 1. 1984). 4. di ty 0 C Table 2 Average values of some parameters at the various sampling points UF 3 90 removal (%) 37% co l 43% TS S removal (%) sand filter 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 TS S 142 Fig. Table 2 reports the analytical data concerning the pilot plant configuration with UF as final membrane process. c Integral of the absorbance curve in the whole visible range (400–800 nm).9 0. especially by means of the ozonization step (71%). mg/l MBASb. 30 70 20 ur ol o C rb i Tu . Marcucci et al. mg/l O2 TSS. c) nanofiltration.3 0. Contributions of: a) sand filter. A satisfactory removal of COD (66%). 3.. The removal of mean parameters with the last plant configuration (with UF as the advanced treatment) are shown in Fig. mg/l Turbidity. The percentages are referred to the filter input. In order to evaluate in a scientific way the results of the laboratory-scale dyeing trials. °F BIASa. According with the analytical data.9 0.027 7. tests on colour measurement were realised by means of a Gretag Macbeth Coloreye 2180 UV spectrophotometer.1 1. Dyeing experiment results 3. the following issues were made evident: • Good performance of the first stage of the treatment (clariflocculation) concerning with the removal of turbidity (49%). First case study Dyeing experiments with 100% ozonizated water and 100% NF permeate were compared with the same with the softened freshwater.3.3 352 <5 0. High removal of colour (93%). d Absorbance at 420 nm.M.007 Non-ionic surfactants as bismuth-iodine active substances (IRSA method 5160-ISO 7875/2 1st ed.O .009 7. mg/l Colourd removal a Sampling point 1 2 3 4 6. Residual concentration of non-ionic surfactants of 19 mg/l due to high initial concentration. 1984).3.

. Filterpar (Bergamo. Corrieri and G. Bottino. 35(2) (2001) 567–572. 40(4–5) (1999) 409–416. in the first case study constant values of NF permeate were guaranteed and in the second case study low operating pressures were observed. 4. 8th World Filtration Congress. • 100% NF permeate is reusable in all dyeing cycle. 3. Antonelli and M.34 € /m3 in the first case study • 0. I. No. because of different characteristics of the textile wastewater: a biological effluent and an untreated carbonization effluent. [5] A. With same wastewater flow of 1. In the two case studies examined in this work some differences related to the different plantengineering solutions emerge: • A specific pretreatment for the final membrane stage was studied. Rozzi.. The treatment and reuse of wastewater in the textile industry by means of ozonization and electroflocculation. Water Sci. 143 mentation of the membrane processes on the industrial scale. pp. The authors are grateful to Fildrop (Firenze. Nevertheless. some economic considerations can be drawn to evaluate the economical feasibility of the imple- References [1] Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy. Capanelli. L 327.3. Textile wastewater reuse: ozonization of membrane concentrated secondary effluent. Marcucci et al. In consideration of the good results obtained.M.. Italy). M. Ciardelli. Lopez et al.500 m3/d. Desalination. Water Res. Membrane treatment of secondary textile effluents for direct reuse. • In both case studies no significant variations in the hydraulic and mechanical parameters of the membrane processes were detected. guaranteeing a payback of the investment cost of about 3 years. Capannelli et al. 2000. G. In particular. Ranieri. 521–524. G. . on laboratory and industrial scale gave successful results. UK. Conclusions Acknowledgements On the basis of the pilot scale trials results membrane processes show to be promising methods for the purification aimed at reuse of textile wastewater. [6] A. Second case study Both the dyeing tests. Nosenzo. which would be a very competitive costs if compared to present costs for water supply and depuration within law limits. 40(4–5) (1999) 99–105. Water Sci. Arcari. / Desalination 149 (2002) 137–143 with dark colour) or mixed with freshwater. In: Proc. Treatment and reuse of textile effluents based on new ultrafiltration and other membrane technologies. [2] M. Technol. Brighton. European Communities. 1.2. [4] G. Ciardelli and N. the unit costs for the two proposed treatments are: • 0. Official J. Ciabatti. Ingrid Ciabatti and Guido Vernaglione for technical support. G. D.40 € /m3 in the second case study. [3] A.. in both cases the quality of the effluents is suitable to be reused in all phases of the textile process with the limit of 50% of recycled water in the second case study. Italy). Marcucci. Symposium and Exhibition. indicating the efficiency of the pretreatment to reduce membrane fouling. even for light colours. Technol.. with 50% UF permeate and 50% well water. 138 (2001) 75– 82. Membrane processes for textile wastewater treatment aimed at its re-use. A comparison among dyeing with freshwater and with a mixed of recycled and well water did not show any differences.