Ideally, pressure driven membrane processes used in wastewater treatment such as reverse osmosis and nanofiltration should provide a complete physical barrier to the passage of pathogens such as enteric viruses. In reality, manufacturing imperfections combined with membrane ageing and damage can result in breaches as small as 20 to 30 nm in diameter, sufficient to allow enteric viruses to contaminate the treated water and compromise public health. In addition to continuous monitoring, frequent demonstration of the integrity of membranes is required to provide assurance that the barrier to the passage of such contaminants is intact. Existing membrane integrity monitoring systems, however, are limited and health regulators typically credit high-pressure membrane systems with only 2 log10
virus rejection, well below their capability. A reliable real-time method that can recognize the true rejection potential of membrane systems greater than 4 log10
has not yet been established. This review provides a critical evaluation of the current methods of integrity monitoring and identifies novel approaches that have the potential to provide accurate, representative virus removal efficiency estimates.
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