Full-scale Application of An Integrated UF/RO System for Treatment and Reuse of Electroplating Wastewater

Biao Wu, Xianhui Li, Hong Wang, Xiangdong Xue, Jianxin Li



The purification of wastewaters containing heavy metals is one of the main ecological problems in the electroplating industry. This study describes a full-scale integrated ultrafiltration (UF)/reverse osmosis (RO) system for treatment and reuse of the electroplating wastewater in China. The quartz sand and granular activated carbon filtration were employed for the UF pretreatment. The UF and RO membranes used were poly(vinylidene difluoride) hollow fiber and polyamide composite membranes The product capacity of the system was 1,200 m3/d. The product water was used as tap water substitute for in-process rinsing water at the factory. The results showed that the chemical oxygen demand (COD) and conductivity after the treatment decreased from 90±10 mg/L and 5000±500 μs/cm in the feed to values below 8 mg/L and 70μs/cm, respectively. The rejection of COD and salts reached to 93.0±1.8% and 98.9±0.2%, respectively. The suspended solids (SS) had been fully eliminated. An economics evaluation shows that the annual reductions of sewage discharge and expenses were approximately 219,000 m3 and ¥500,000 after two years of running, respectively. Overall, the full-scale UF/RO treatment plant provides a visible and feasible solution to the electroplating wastewater.


Keywords: Ultrafiltration (UF); reverse osmosis (RO); electroplating wastewater; heavy metals; water reuse