Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 2681–2690 | Cite as

Performance and autopsy of nanofiltration membranes at an oil-field wastewater desalination plant

  • Dongsheng ZhaoEmail author
  • Chang Su
  • Guicai Liu
  • Youbing Zhu
  • Zhengyang Gu
Research Article


In this study, the long-term operational performance of an on-site NF facility at a full-scale oil-field wastewater desalination plant was monitored. The NF facility with poor permeability due to membrane fouling enables efficient multivalent salt removal (rejections of Mg2+, Ca2+, Fe3+, and Al3+ were approximately 100%). Moreover, a comparison of the cleaning efficiencies of two on-site cleaning modes indicated that PL-007 cleaning helped to improve the effectiveness of subsequent acid cleaning in the removal of inorganic foulants. Furthermore, a spiral-wound NF membrane module harvested from the plant was unfolded and autopsied. The results showed that both anionic polyacrylamide (APAM) and crude oil were identified as the predominant organic matter on the membrane surface and collectively accounted for a substantial fraction (86.3%) in terms of dry weight. Additionally, dissolved organics with a high molecular weight were prone to accumulation on the membrane surface. Multivalent elements, including Mg, Ca, Al, Fe, and Si, were the primary inorganic species in the fouling layer. Among the inorganic elements, Si occupied a high proportion and existed in the form of SiO2 in the fouling layer. According to the autopsy results, organic fouling combined with inorganics was responsible for the decline in the flux.


Nanofiltration Oil-field wastewater Performance Fouling Cleaning 


Funding information

This research was financially supported by the Natural Science Foundation of Shandong Province (ZR2018BEE040) and the Scientific Research Project of Nanyang Normal University (2018ZX022).

Supplementary material

11356_2018_3797_MOESM1_ESM.docx (164 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 164 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dongsheng Zhao
    • 1
    Email author
  • Chang Su
    • 1
  • Guicai Liu
    • 2
  • Youbing Zhu
    • 3
  • Zhengyang Gu
    • 3
  1. 1.College of Civil Engineering and ArchitectureNanyang Normal UniversityNanyangChina
  2. 2.School of Civil Engineering and ArchitectureUniversity of JinanJinanChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resources Reuse, School of Environmental Science and EngineeringTongji UniversityShanghaiChina

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