Tannery effluent treatment by nanofiltration, reverse osmosis and chitosan modified membranes

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The objective of this work is to develop an appropriate technology for environmentally sound membrane-based purification of a tannery effluent assuring, simultaneously, the recovery of chromium, considered as the most hazardous inorganic water pollutant extensively used in leather tanning. A comparison between the permeate fluxes obtained during treatment of a synthetic tannery effluent through nanofiltration (NF270 and NF90 membranes) and reverse osmosis (BW30 and SW30) membranes was first performed. Then, a dedicated polymeric membrane was prepared by coating chitosan (cs) on a polyethersulfone (PES) microfiltration membrane (cs-PES MFO22) support. The resulting membrane was characterized by Fourier Transforms Infrared Spectroscopy Attenuated Total Reflectance (FTIR-ATR), Emission Scanning Electronic Microscopy (SEM) to confirm the process of surface modification and cross-linking of chitosan with glutaraldehyde. This membrane was found to be highly effective for chromium removal (>99%), which was more than eight times higher in reference to monovalent cations (e.g., Na+ and K+) and more than six times higher in reference to the divalent cations (Mg2+ and Ca2+) studied. The reverse osmosis permeate conforms to local Algerian regulations regarding being discharged directly into the natural environment (in this case, Reghaia Lake) or into urban sewers linked to wastewater biological treatment stations. While the SW30 membrane proved to be the most effective for purification of the tannery effluent, the chitosan modified membrane proved to be appropriate for recovery of chromium from the reverse osmosis concentrate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number378
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2020


  • Chitosan membranes
  • Chromium recovery
  • Nanofiltration
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Tannery effluent


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