Colloid Formation for the Removal of Natural Organic Matter during Iron Sulfate Coagulation
Masters, Erika N.
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Removal of organic matter is increasingly important to drinking water utilities and consumers. Organic matter is a significant precursor in the formation of disinfection by-products (DBPs). The maximum contaminant levels for (DBPs) are decreasing and more DBPs are believed carcinogenic. Traditional coagulation focuses on the removal of particulate matter and in the last decade soluble species have also been targeted with high coagulant doses. However, colloidal matter is smaller than particulate matter and therefore not easily removed by conventional drinking water treatment. This research focused on the conversion of soluble organic matter to colloids using relatively low doses of ferric sulfate coagulant and the subsequent removal of the colloids by filtration during drinking water treatment. The goal is to achieve enhanced removal of soluble organic matter with minimal chemical costs and residual formation. This study investigated the effects of pH, iron coagulant dose, turbidity, organic matter concentration, and temperature on colloid formation. Characterization of the colloidal organic matter was attempted using zeta potential and sizing analyses. Cationic low molecular weight, nonionic high molecular weight, and cationic medium molecular weight polymers were evaluated on their removal of colloidal organic matter. Colloidal organic matter formation was affected by changes in coagulation pH, coagulant dose, and organic matter concentration, whereas turbidity and temperature did not significantly impact colloid formation. Decreased coagulation pH caused increased organic carbon removal. As coagulant dose was increased, colloid formation initially increased to maximum and subsequently rapidly decreased. Colloid formation was increased as the organic matter concentration increased. Due to low sample signal, the colloids could not be characterized using zeta potential and sizing analyses. In addition, polymers were ineffective for aggregating colloidal organic matter when used as flocculant aids.
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