Treatment of Model Inland Brackish Groundwater Reverse Osmosis Concentrate with Electrodialysis – Part III: Sensitivity to composition and hydraulic recovery

William Shane Walker
Younggy Kim, McMaster University
Desmond F. Lawler, University of Texas at Austin


The objective of this research was to investigate the sensitivity of electrodialysis performance to variations in voltage application and membranes when treating brackish water reverse osmosis concentrate waste. Synthetic BWRO concentrates from Arizona and Texas of 7890–14,800 mg/L total dissolved solids were prepared with poly-phosphonate antiscalants. Experimentation was performed using a laboratory-scale electrodialyzer with two sets of membranes (AMV-CMV and PCSA-PCSK) with a nominal transfer area of 64 cm2 per membrane. Flow, pressure, conductivity, temperature, and pH were measured continuously, and periodic samples were analyzed for specific anion and cation concentrations. The BWRO concentrates were successfully treated with stack voltage applications of 0.5–1.5 V/cell-pair for salinity removal ratios up to 99% with current density less than 500 A/m2. This paper highlights that (1) the specific energy consumption was proportional to the applied voltage and equivalent concentration separated (i.e., approximately 0.03 kW h/m3 per Volt/cell-pair applied per meq/L separated); (2) lower voltage applications decreased the relative separation rate of sulfate compared to chloride; and (3) water transport by electro-osmosis was independent of voltage application or resulting current densities, while it is affected by the ion exchange membranes.