A hybrid froth flotation-filtration system as a pretreatment for oil sands tailings pond recycle water management: Bench- and pilot-scale studies

Kavithaa Loganathan, David Bromley, Pamela Chelme-Ayala, Mohamed Gamal El-Din

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Through sustainable water management, oil sands companies are working to reduce their reliance on fresh water by minimizing the amount of water required for their operations and by recycling water from tailings ponds. This study was the first pilot-scale testing of a hybrid technology consisting of froth flotation combined with filtration through precoated submerged stainless steel membranes used to treat recycle water from an oil sands facility. The results indicated that the most important factor affecting the performance of the hybrid system was the influent water quality. Any rise in the levels of suspended solids or total organic carbon of the feed water resulted in changes of chemical consumption rates, flux rates, and operating cycle durations. The selections of chemical type and dosing rates were critical in achieving optimal performance. In particular, the froth application rate heavily affected the overall recovery of the hybrid system as well as the performance of the flotation process. Optimum surfactant usage to generate froth (per liter of treated water) was 0.25 mL/L at approximately 2000 NTU of influent turbidity and 0.015 mL/L at approximately 200 NTU of influent turbidity. At the tested conditions, the optimal coagulant dose was 80 mg/L (as Al) at approximately 2000 NTU of influent turbidity and <40 mg/L (as Al) at approximately 200 NTU of influent turbidity. Precoat loading per unit membrane surface area tested during the pilot study was approximately 30 g/m2. The results of this study indicated that this hybrid technology can potentially be considered as a pre-treatment step for reverse osmosis treatment of recycle water.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-123
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes



  • Hybrid flotation-filtration system
  • Oil sands
  • Recycle water
  • Suspended solids
  • Water management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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