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Influence of coagulation mechanisms and floc formation on filterability

Jiao, Ruyuan, Fabris, Rolando, Chow, Christopher W.K., Drikas, Mary, van Leeuwen, John, Wang, Dongsheng, Xu, Zhizhen
Journal of environmental sciences (China) 2017 v.57 pp. 338-345
aluminum sulfate, coagulants, coagulation, drinking water, filterability, filtration, flocculation, neutralization, pH, turbidity, water quality
Minimizing particles in water is a key goal for improving drinking water quality and safety. The media filtration process, as the last step of the solid–liquid separation process, is largely influenced by the characteristics of flocs, which are formed and controlled within the coagulation process. In a laboratory-based study, the impacts of the physical characteristics of flocs formed using aluminum sulfate on the filtration treatment of two comparative water samples were investigated using a photometric dispersion analyzer and a filterability apparatus. In general, the optimum dosage for maximizing filterability was higher than that for minimizing turbidity under neutral pH conditions. For a monomeric aluminum-based coagulant, the charge neutralization mechanism produced better floc characteristics, including floc growth speed and size, than the sweep flocculation mechanism. In addition, the charge neutralization mechanism showed better performance compared to sweep flocculation in terms of DOC removal and floc filterability improvement for both waters, and showed superiority in turbidity removal only when the raw water had high turbidity. For the different mechanisms, the ways that floc characteristics impacted on floc filterability also differed. The low variation in floc size distribution obtained under the charge neutralization mechanism resulted in the flocs being amenable to removal by filtration processes. For the sweep flocculation mechanism, increasing the floc size improved the settling ability of flocs, resulting in higher filter efficiency.