Water reclamation from Brackish Water Using Reverse Osmosis (RO) Membrane Technologies in Southeast England, United Kingdom

Kiran Tota-Maharaj, Colin D. Hills

Research output: Contribution to specialist publication or newspaperArticle


Water is the essence of life; it is needed to ensure our survival and so water resources must be adequately and abundantly supplied safely and efficiently. Methods in which this fundamental resource is accessed and sustainably obtained are of paramount importance. This project investigates the treatment and reuse possibilities of brackish river water from the Medway River, Kent, England, UK with Reverse Osmosis (RO) spiral wound membranes as the purification techniques. RO has more than half a century of industrial operation across the world due to its ability in dealing with a wide variety of water sources, making it a robust process capable of tackling most of the water shortages facing certain regions. Currently it is known as the most proficient technology for wastewater reclamation and is one of the most efficient technologies for desalting brackish water. The specific attributes of RO membranes were evaluated in terms of its feasibility for water supply in the southeast region of the UK. The research investigation carried out looked at raw river water solute samples of brackish water of approximately 5 litres per day through the desalination system under varying pump pressures. The application and efficiency of RO membrane technologies were analysed and assessed. The use of spiral wound membranes was the main focus of this research project. The membranes used were selected particularly for wastewater treatment scenarios. Water quality tests were performed for the feed water sourced from River Medway (brackish waters). These tests included specific water quality parameters including turbidity, pH, Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), total dissolved solids (TDS), specific conductance, ammonium, nitrates and phosphates of the sample feed river water and effluent. Weekly comparisons were made on the influent and effluent of the RO system. The project found an optimum rejection rate of approximately 90-98%. The developments in other variations of RO technology suggest the advancement of membrane materials has undeniably made desalination processes with RO more cost effective by increasing performance and efficiency. Furthermore, the research conducted forecasts the abilities of a large-scale Reverse Osmosis treatment systems and RO as a promising process for the southeast region of the UK. The technologies currently being developed are predicted to benefit the desalination industry by lowering the energy consumption and simplifying water treatment processes.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Specialist publicationInstitute of Water Journal
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2020


  • Desalination
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Water Resources
  • Membranes
  • Brackish water
  • Southeast England
  • Kent


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