R.O. pretreatment design & performance under challenging conditions in the Arabian Gulf.

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In early 2006 ACWA received a contract from Palm Water to design, install and
commission 2 x 32,000m3/d seawater desalination plants on the Crescent of Palm Jumeirah.

The probability of high Silt Density Index (or SDI) figures (a full explanation of the term SDI is
given at the end of this paper), the lack of space available for treatment equipment and the client’s preference for minimal use of coagulants (to minimize environmental impact), along with the fact that the raw water was not expected to be highly fouling in nature led to the selection of membrane pretreatment rather than more traditional routes involving coagulation, flocculation and media filtration.

This paper focuses on the performance of the UF stage of the process in treating raw seawater with SDI (2.5) averaging 32 and occasionally peaking at around 38 and suggests certain considerations to be borne in mind by other designers working with variable, poor quality feedwater.

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