Remediation with cyclodextrin: Recovery of the remedial agent by membrane filtration

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Cyclodextrin-enhanced flushing of contaminants from the subsurface is a promising innovative remediation technology. It will become more economically viable at more sites if methods can be developed to recover and reconcentrate the cyclodextrin solution after it has been flushed through an aquifer. The goal of this study was to determine if membrane technology is capable of meeting that need. Five membranes with different material properties were tested for this purpose in the laboratory. The results of these tests indicate that there are large differences both in the efficiency of these membranes to extract hydroxpropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HPCD) and their stability when exposed to trichloroethylene (TCE) at concentrations near aqueous solubility. Not only does the molecular weigh cutoff (MWCO) of a membrane determine if HPCD can be retained, but crucial selection criteria are the membrane’s resistance and compatibility with TCE. Of the five membrane materials tested, only two (polymer composite membrane and polysulfone) met both these requirements. The polymer composite membrane (MPF-44) showed reliable and stable HPCD recoveries (>95 percent) even when exposed to high TCE concentrations. The polysulfone membrane showed high HPCD recoveries, 88.5 ± 0.4 percent to 97 percent ±1 percent for ultrafiltration and nanofiltration membranes, respectively. However, membrane swelling and deterioration became a problem at high TCE concentrations (>1,000 mg/L). These problems diminished when the TCE concentration was less than 1 mg/L. Field tests demonstrated that batch mode treatment by ultrafiltration doubled the cyclodextrin concentration from 5 to 10 percent within three hours at a constant operating pressure of 13 psi. Under continuous single-pass treatment conditions, cyclodextrin concentration also increased, although the rate of increase was much smaller than in batch mode. Overall, these tests showed that cyclodextrin recovery is possible under field conditions. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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