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Silt Density Index (SDI) Measurement

& Testing
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What SDI Values
Require Prefiltration?

What is SDI (Silt Density Index?)

Is SDI the same as


Turbidity?
Is there any direct
relation between SDI
and Turbidity?
What quantity test
water is required to
perform an SDI Test?

Suspended solids and colloidal materials in feed water are one of the
biggest problems in reverse osmosis systems. Even though most
systems have some pretreatment including 5 micron prefilters, these
fine particles are responsible for fouling of reverse osmosis
membranes.
In order to have some measure of the degree of this fouling
problem, a concept called Silt Density Index is used. Here a 0.45
micron filter is exposed to the feed water under pressure and
filtration rates are calculated. A detailed description of the test is
available here: Test for Determining Silt Density Index
An SDI of less than 5 is considered acceptable for the reverse
osmosis systems. This means that at values of SDI of less than 5, the
membranes should foul at a very low rate. Even though the concept
works most of the time, there are exceptions when a lower SDI (less
than 3) is desirable due to the nature of the suspended solids in that
feed water.

Once a SDI is calculated, how is that value used to determine RO


prefiltration?

SDI of <5: No prefiltration is necessary.


SDI of 5-10: A media (sand-type) filter is required.
SDI of >10: A 2-stage media filtration is necessary possibly with the aid of coagulants or settling tanks.

Is SDI the same as Turbidity?

SDI is a measurement of the fouling potential of suspended


solids. Turbidity is a measurement of the amount of
suspended solids. They are not the same and there is no
direct correlation between the two. In practical terms,
however, the membranes show very little fouling when the
feed water has a turbidity of less than 1 NTU.
Correspondingly the membranes show very low fouling at a
feed SDI of less than 5.

Is there any direct relation between SDI and turbidity? will proper
flocculation bring down SDI to desired levels? which method you
would recommend to bring down SDI?

No. However, from membrane fouling standpoint, an SDI of


less than 5, is equivalent to a Turbidity of less than 1 NTU.

In the SDI test, are the t2, t3 (etc) tests made by passing water
through the membrane for 5, 10 and 15 minutes each -- in other
words, do you keep the water running through the whole test. This
implies that we need large quantities of the test water. True?

True. You need fairly large quantity of water. That is why the
SDI test is generally done at the source of water.

What causes an SDI value to be slightly higher than 5 following the


pretreatment system? What can be done to lower the SDI and be
able to maintain it at the lower rate?

A high SDI can be caused by a fouling membrane. You can


reduce the SDI by injecting a coagulant that is compatible
with the membranes, before the media filter. You may also
inject a dispersant to keep particles from fouling the
membranes.

Is it possible to obtain a SDI value if the pressure is only 4.5 psi?


And are there any calculations for extrapolation of the results?

No. You will need a pump to pressurize this water to the test
conditions.

Does the function of water temperature affect your SDI readings? Is


there a specific correlation?

As long as the temperature remains constant during the test


[+/-1 deg C] there is no effect. Only if the temperature
varies during the test will the data be distorted.

Since the SDI procedure requires a constant 30 psi pressure, is there

a correction that can be done to the result if the pressure is not 30


psi (id 20 psi)? What does %P30 stand for?

There is no correction factor or correlation for running the


SDI test at pressures other than 30 psi. However, the SDI
value at 20 psi, should still be useful. %P30 is a term used
for plugging factor at 30 psi. It equals SDI multiplied by the
duration of the test [standard 15 minutes].

Pretreatment
Pretreatment Selection
1. Remove suspended solids.
2. Control calcium scaling.
* Antiscalant Injection
* Softening
* pH Adjustment (Acid Injection)
3. Other treatment as dictated by water analysis and
desired recovery.

Particulate

10 to 25 micron cartridge filter. Sand or


diatomaceous earth filter (Optional)

pH correction

Acid addition to lower pH to about 6.


Membrane hydrolysis function of pH

Calcium
Carbonate

pH adjustment prevents precipitation

Calcium Sulfate

Precipitation inhibited with scale inhibitors

Soluble state no problem, but dander is


oxidation to insoluble form at or near
Iron & Manganese
membrane. Oxidation, reduction, scale
inhibitor possible methods
Colloids

Coagulation/Flocculation; Ultrafiltration

Organic Deposits

Filtration, Activated Carbon, Polyelectrolytes

Microbiological
Organisms

Chlorination

Silica

Dependent on form, soluble, crystalline


amorphous

Temperature

Product flux temperature; 1 to 1.5% per


degree

Pretreatment Techniques
Feed Water
Characteristics

Potential

Turbidity (Suspended
solids)

Coagulation,
Forms Deposits in
settling,
lines and equipment
filtration

Color

Stains and causes


foaming

Treatment

Coagulation,
filtration
absorption

Odor (see dissolved


gases)

Chlorination,
Absorption

Taste

Chlorination,
Absorption

Chemical
Characteristics

Potential

Treatment

Hardness (Ca and Mg


Forms Scale
salts)

pH,
softening,
conversion
control

Minerals (Na, K, CI,


SO4, HCO3)

Contribute to TDS

RO

Mn++

Forms Deposits

Oxidation

Fe++

Upon Oxidation

Filtration

Silica

Forms Scale

Lime
softening
process

Gases (O2 , H2 S, CO2 ,


Cause Corrosion
NH3)

Aeration
Degasificatio
n

Biological
Characteristics

Potential

Treatment

Bacteria

Forms organic

Chlorination

Algae

Deposits

UV
Irradiation

Viruses

Summary of Pretreatment Options

This table summarizes the pretreatment options when specific


risks for scaling and fouling are present. It is a quick reference for
"possible" and "very effective".

Dechlorination
Sodium Bisulfite (Na H SO3)
-10% Solution
-3 Lbs. of Na H SO3 per lb. of Cl2
Activated Carbon
-1 million PPM gallons per cubic ft.

Solution life of Sodium Bisulfite

SODIUM BISULFITE

MAXIMUM SOLUTION LIFE

SOLUTION
WEIGHT %
2

3 Days

10

1 Week

20

1 Month

30

6 Months

Activated Carbon
1 cubic foot of Carbon will remove 1 ppm of
Chlorine from 1 million gallons of water

Design Flow Rate


-Chlorine
-Organics

15 gpm/ft2
6 gpm/ft2

Removal of Suspended Solids


Technique

Equipment Options

Gravity Separation

Primary Sedimentation
Secondary
Sedimentation
Chemical Sedimentation
Flotation
Clarification
Settler

Physical Straining Process

Screening
Diatomaceous Earth
Filtration

Ultrafiltration
Granular Media Filtration

Upflow Sand Filters


Downflow Sand Filters
Green Sand Filters
Multi Media Filters
Special Design Filters

Granular-Media Deep-Bed Filtration


Table V. Minimum Fluidization Velocities for Various UniformSized Media
(Observed Empirically)9

Between U.S. Std. Sieves


Passing

Mm

Retained

Size
(mm)

7
8
10
12
14
16
18
20
25
30
35
40
50
Specify
Gravity

2.830
2.380
2.000
1.680
1.410
1.190
1.000
0.841
0.707
0.595
0.500
0.420
0.297

8
10
12
14
16
18
20
25
30
35
40
45
60
(.25mm)

2.59
2.18
1.84
1.54
1.30
1.09
0.92
0.78
.65
0.55
0.46
0.38
0.27

Mean Flow Rate to


Achieve 10%
Expansion at 25C,
gpm/ft2
Coal Sand Garnet
37.0
30.0
24.0
41.0
20.0
33.0
15.7
27.0
49.0
12.5
21.0
40.0
9.9
16.4
32.0
8.4
12.6
27.0
7.0
9.0
22.0
6.3
18.0
5.4
13.7
4.0
11.3
6.3
1.7

2.65

Table VI. Temperature Correction: Approximate Correction


Factors to be Applied for Temperatures Other Than 25C

4.1

Temperature (C)

Multiply the 25C Value by

30
25
20
15
10
5

1.09
1.00
0.91
0.83
0.75
0.68

Typical Pressure Filter Media Beds For RO Pretreatment


A. SAND FILTERS
Top Layer
0.6 mm e.s.
Middle Layer
1.2 mm e.s.
Bottom Layer
1/8 diam.

-12 to 24 fine sand


-6 to 12 coarse sand
-4 find gravel

-0.45 to
-0.8 to
-1/4 to

B. DUAL - MEDIA FILTERS


Top Layer
to 0.76 mm e.s.

-6 to 24 No. 1 anthrafilt

-0.65

Layer
to 0.6 mm e.s.

-12 to 18 fine sand

-0.45

Layer
1.2 mm e.s.

-6 coarse sand

Bottom Layer
1/8 diam.

-4 fine gravel

C. MANGANESE ZEOLITE FILTERS


Top Layer

-0 to 6 No. 1 anthrafilt

-0.8 to
-1/4 to

-0.65 to 0.76 mm e.s.


Layer
-12 to 18 manganese zeolite
-0.27 to 0.37 mm e.s.
Layer
to 0.6 mm e.s.

-4 to 6 fine sand

-0.45

Layer
to 1.2 mm e.s.

-0 to 6 coarse sand

-0.8

Bottom Layer
-1/4 to 1/8 diam

-4 fine gravel

NOTE: Bed depths will depend on available height of pressure filter and
at least 50% of bed depth should be allowed as free board for bed
expansion.

Deep Bed Filtration - Design Recommendations


DUAL MEDIA
Recommended Depth:
Coal

18 - 24

Sand

15 - 18

FILTRATION RATE
5 Gallons/Minute/Square Foot
Media
15 Gallons/Minute/Square Foot
Media

Dual
Multi

Saludos seor Armando no pude ir hoy a lago medio, lo pospusieron para el jueves.
Estoy en la oficina.