Removal of dissolved organic carbon and organic halide precursors by enhanced coagulation

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Virginia Tech


Raw water samples from nine utilities were received, and water-quality analyses, bench-scale water treatment, and chlorination were performed to determine the effectiveness of enhanced coagulation at removal of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and organic halide precursors. Bench-scale treatment included: 1) baseline treatment, defined as the coagulant dose and pH at which the specific utility's water treatment plant was operating on the day the samples were collected, and 2) enhanced treatment, which was determined on the basis of bench-scale studies. Enhanced treatment is defined in the proposed Disinfectant/Disinfection By-Products (D/DBP) Rule as the coagulant dose at which a 10 mg/L increase in coagulant dose does not produce greater than a 0.3 mg/L decrease in dissolved organic carbon (DOC) or total organic carbon (TOC) concentration over the previous dose (Federal Register 1994). The treated samples were then chlorinated and analyzed for disinfection by-products (DBPs), including trihalomethanes (THMs) and non-purgeable dissolved organic halides (NPDOX).

Specific objectives included: 1) an evaluation of the effectiveness of enhanced coagulation for TOC reduction, 2) determination of the effectiveness of surrogate parameters: such as raw water DOC and specific ultraviolet absorbance (SUVA); for predicting TOC removal by enhanced coagulation, and 3) determination of the relationship between DOC and NPDOX concentration in raw and treated waters.

For all of the utilities, enhanced coagulation was effective at meeting the proposed TOC removal requirements contained in the D/DBP Rule, which range from 20 percent to 50 percent removal based on the alkalinity and TOC of the raw water. Raw water SUVA was the best indicator of the expected Toe removal by enhanced coagulation, with raw water SUVA values > 3.0 L/mg-m typically indicating greater TOC removal. Organic content was a good indicator of DBP formation. The average non-purgeable dissolved organic halogen formation potential (NPDOXFP) yields, based on DOC, were 155 μg as Cl⁻/mg DOC for raw water samples and ranged from 110- 138 μg as CI⁻/mg DOC for treated water samples.



dissolved organic carbon, disinfection by-products, coagulation