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Enhanced coagulation with powdered activated carbon or MIEX® secondary treatment: A comparison of disinfection by-product formation and precursor removal

Watson, Kalinda, Farré, Maria José, Knight, Nicole
Water research 2015 v.68 pp. 454-466
activated carbon, adsorption, alkalinity, anion exchange, byproducts, coagulation, disinfection, dissolved organic carbon, iodides, water quality
The removal of both organic and inorganic disinfection by-product (DBP) precursors prior to disinfection is important in mitigating DBP formation, with halide removal being particularly important in salinity-impacted water sources. A matrix of waters of variable alkalinity, halide concentration and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration were treated with enhanced coagulation (EC) followed by anion exchange (MIEX® resin) or powdered activated carbon (PAC) and the subsequent disinfection by-product formation potentials (DBP-FPs) assessed and compared to DBP-FPs for untreated samples. Halide and DOC removal were also monitored for both treatment processes. Bromide and iodide adsorption by MIEX® treatment ranged from 0 to 53% and 4–78%, respectively. As expected, EC and PAC treatments did not remove halides. DOC removal by EC/PAC was 70 ± 10%, while EC/MIEX® enabled a DOC removal of 66 ± 12%. Despite the halide removals achieved by MIEX®, increases in brominated disinfection by-product (Br-DBP) formation were observed relative to untreated samples, when favourable Br:DOC ratios were created by the treatment. However, the increases in formation were less than what was observed for the EC/PAC treated waters, which caused large increases in Br-DBP formation when high Br-DBP-forming water quality conditions occurred. The formation potential of fully chlorinated DBPs decreased after treatment in all cases.