UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Woven-Fiber Microfiltration (WFMF) and Ultraviolet Light Emitting Diodes (UV LEDs) for Treating Wastewater and Septic Tank Effluent Beck, Sara; Suwan, Poonyanooch; Rathnayeke, Thusitha; Nguyen, Thi Minh Hong; Huanambal-Sovero, Victor A.; Boonyapalanant, Boonmee; Hull, Natalie M.; Koottatep, Thammarat


Decentralized wastewater treatment systems enable wastewater to be treated at the source for cleaner discharge into the environment, protecting public health while allowing for reuse for agricultural and other purposes. This study, conducted in Thailand, investigated a decentralized wastewater treatment system incorporating a physical and photochemical process. Domestic wastewater from a university campus and conventional septic tank effluent from a small community were filtered through a woven-fiber microfiltration (WFMF) membrane as pretreatment for ultraviolet (UV) disinfection. In domestic wastewater, WFMF reduced TSS (by 79.8%), turbidity (76.5%), COD (38.5%), and NO₃ (41.4%), meeting Thailand irrigation standards for every parameter except BOD. In septic tank effluent, it did not meet Thailand irrigation standards, but reduced TSS (by 77.9%), COD (37.6%), and TKN (13.5%). Bacteria (total coliform and Escherichia coli) and viruses (MS2 bacteriophage) passing through the membrane were disinfected by flow-through UV reactors containing either a low-pressure mercury lamp or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) emitting an average peak wavelength of 276 nm. Despite challenging and variable water quality conditions (2% < UVT < 88%), disinfection was predictable across water types and flow rates for both UV sources using combined variable modeling, which enabled us to estimate log inactivation of other microorganisms. Following UV disinfection, wastewater quality met the WHO standards for unrestricted irrigation.

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