Massive quantities of water are consumed in the pulp and paper industry. Water is used as the suspending liquid for the pulping process and the bleaching stages as well as for washing. As a result, large volumes of effluent water are produced that need to be filtered.
Ultrafiltration processes have proved successful for the treatment of effluents, the treatment of black liquor, bleaching effluents and paper machine wash waters. They have also found use in the treatment of Kraft process effluents and there is
increasing use of ultrafiltration to recover lignosulphonate and alkali lignin from the spent liquors to produce other products. Reverse osmosis is used in the pulp and paper industry for concentration of sulphate liquor, using plate and frame modules and cellulose acetate membranes. Reverse osmosis is also used in the treatment of bleach effluents after various pretreatment stages.