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Industrial Effluent Treatment: Membrane Filtration

Wastewater Management Industrial

Updated on Oct 11, 2023

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What is industrial effluent? Treatment options for this industrial by-product vary, so it follows that the makeup of the effluent would also be variable, depending on whether come from, say, the agriculture industry or the pharmaceutical sector. With this in mind, your organisation should treat its industrial wastewater can be a very difficult thing to determine. Expert guidance in this area can point you in the right direction.

Depending on your very specific needs, it's likely that a specialised plan of industrial effluent treatment will be developed for you, resulting in a bespoke system that is perfectly designed to ensure your company remains environmentally friendly and compliant with regulations.

In this article, we’re going to give you some details about a very common type of treatment: membrane filtration. There’s a good chance this method would be applicable to you, so it's good to know more about it.

Reverse Osmosis

As far as industrial effluent treatment goes, this is quite a famous one! You may have heard of this scientific process even if you’ve never before engaged in this sector. The way this works is really very clever and, even better, it’s an efficient way to clean wastewater.

It works by using a very tight membrane, one so impermeable that only water can penetrate. This is so effective because it ensures all the contaminants in the water – the bacteria, oils and metals, for example – are left behind to be disposed of.


This is a good technique to use to allow things like salts and some organic material to remain in the effluent. It is able to filter out things like fat and polysaccharides through the use of large pores in the membrane, coupled with low pressure.

In this way, it doesn’t actually separate the water like you might expect with membrane filtration. What it does instead is just a mechanical filtration system that is great for removing small particulates.


The membrane that your experts will provide you with (if nanofiltration is the best system for you) will be slightly more permeable than in the previous two cases. This is because this system is designed to allow small particulates, such as minerals, to pass through, while blocking out the larger, more bulky matter.

It’s a very similar process to reverse osmosis, except in this case the membrane is just not as fine and so doesn’t have quite as strong an effect. There would be a number of reasons why you might want to pursue this filtration technique, and your consultant can advise if it's right for you.

A Job for the Pros

Filtration with a membrane may not sound like too complex a job, but in actual fact, the seriousness of getting this type of process wrong means it’s something that should never be attempted by anybody but a trained professional. Incorrectly handling industrial effluent, treatment going wrong, or systems not being properly installed, can all have disastrous consequences for you and the environment. Membrane filtration is a great way to ensure clean water at the end of an industrial process, but it should only be done when installed and designed by experts.

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Sean Clifford is an advisor at AllWater Technologies Ltd, a wholly independent company providing consultation and water treatment equipment, including industrial effluent treatment plant and reverse osmosis water systems. Bringing together a host of experience and specialist knowledge, the company is committed to building and maintaining long-term relationships and creating maximum value and benefit for their customers.

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