Natural water treatment techniques combined with engineered solutions were investigated at demonstration sites in Europe within the AquaNES project. Ultrafiltration is well-established in water treatment, but is not feasible for many water utilities due to its high operational costs compared to conventional treatment. These differences in cost are caused by membrane fouling and the associated cleaning required. This study aims to assess the economic and energetic operation factors based on studies of an out/in ultrafiltration treatment plant for river water and bank filtrate. The fouling potential of both raw water sources was investigated as well as the quality of the resulting water. In addition, the results show the potential utility of a combined approach utilizing bank filtration followed by ultrafiltration in drinking water treatment. In a separate consideration of the treatment process, the water quality does not fulfill the requirements of the German drinking water ordinance. A new method for the removal of dissolved manganese from the bank filtrate is presented by inline electrolysis. While this improves water quality, this also has a significant influence on fouling potential and, thus, on operating costs of ultrafiltration. These aspects lead to a fundamental decision for operators to choose between more costly ultrafiltration with enhanced microbiological safety compared to cost-effective but less stringent drinking water treatment via open filtration.
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