ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND POLLUTION RESEARCH, pp.1-14, 2022 (Journal Indexed in SCI Expanded)
The residues of pesticides that reach water resources from agricultural activities in several ways contaminate drinking water resources and threaten aquatic life. This study aimed to investigate the performance of three reverse osmosis (RO) membranes (BW30-LE, SW30-XLE, and GE-AD) in rejecting four different pesticides (tributyl phosphate, flutriafol, dicofol, and irgarol) from secondary treated urban wastewater and also to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the rejection of these pesticides. RO experiments were conducted using pesticide-spiked wastewater samples under 10 and 20 bar transmembrane pressures (TMP) and membrane performances were evaluated. Overall, all the membranes tested exhibited over 95% rejection performances for all pesticides at both TMPs. The highest rejections for tributyl phosphate (99.0%) and irgarol (98.3%) were obtained with the BW30-LE membrane, while for flutriafol (99.9%) and dicofol (99.1%) with the GE-AD membrane. The increase in TMP from 10 to 20 bar did not significantly affect the rejections of all pesticides. The rejection performances of RO membranes were found to be governed by projection area as well as molecular weight and hydrophobicity/hydrophilicity of pesticides. Among the membranes tested, the SW30-XLE membrane was the most prone to fouling due to the higher roughness.