Application Note: Monitoring Biological Growth in Membrane Filters

What’s inside:

LuminUltra’s rapid microbiological monitoring technology can help in the quest to manage microorganisms by providing users the ability to measure the total biological population in less than 5 minutes. See how it can be used to calculate a membrane “fouling index” to help operators manage and optimize process efficiency.


Membrane filtration units are widely used in the water treatment industry for applications ranging from ground water treatment and desalination to industrial water treatment and wastewater processes. While they are capable of producing extremely high-quality water, they require a significant investment to acquire and maintain therefore it is important to protect the membranes from excessive wear in order to maximize the lifespan of the modules.

Due to the porous nature of the membranes, they are susceptible to both chemical scaling and biological fouling which can increase energy requirements and operating costs, and shorten their useful lifespan. Treatments differ depending on the nature of the fouling and each cleaning cycle imposes extra stress on the membranes so cleaning chemicals should be targeted to the specific type of fouling that is present and cleaning frequency should be optimized.

Through adenosine triphosphate (ATP) testing, influent water quality can be monitored; permeate water quality can be assessed to reveal contamination and microbiological break-through; and the membrane fouling can be assessed. By monitoring membrane fouling on a regular basis, the appropriate treatment can be applied and cleaning cycles can be optimized to reduce excess wear on the membranes.

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