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Relationships between floc properties and NOM removal using a moorland water source

Balls, Margaret; (2014) Relationships between floc properties and NOM removal using a moorland water source. Doctoral thesis (PhD), UCL (University College London). Green open access


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Natural organic matter, or NOM presents a treatment challenge to the conventional water treatment process and has been associated with the formation of disinfection by-products (DBP’s) such as Tri-halomethanes (THM’s) if not removed prior to the disinfection stage. Poor removal of NOM is also thought to lead to filter performance problems such as turbidity or particle count breakthrough, which represents an increased risk of passage of Cryptosporidium into the treated water. Understanding the complex nature of NOM floc and how its physico-chemical properties relate to the coagulation matrix within the water treatment process is therefore key to optimising NOM removal. This forms the basis of the study which was carried out entirely using a natural raw moorland source water, which is preferable over synthetic kaolin based systems. The experimental programme encompassed both bench-scale and pilot-scale tests, and investigated the effect of changes to a number of variables such as coagulant type, coagulation pH and Fe:DOC ratio on floc physico-chemical properties. The approach taken in this work, of monitoring NOM removal alongside floc properties obtained from the optical flocculation monitor revealed some key trends. Firstly under equivalent shear conditions the coagulant dose almost always correlated with the steady-state maximum floc size, and influenced the flocculation rate. Generally the ferric based systems with the largest and fastest forming floc correlated with the best NOM removal, but when the applied Fe:DOC range was narrow and within an optimal range it was difficult to pin-point the best dose. The organic coagulants polyDADMAC and Zetag 64 formed larger, amd more reversible floc than the ferric based systems but with poor NOM removal. Secondly under equivalent shear conditions the larger flocs exhibited the least resistance to breakage, regardless of the coagulant system. Finally with regard to floc physico-chemical properties and filter performance, some key trends were revealed. Zeta potential influenced both NOM removal and the filtered water quality with considerable improvement noted as the charge tended towards 0 mV, and poor performance in the form of breakthrough as the charge decreased to <-10 mV or >4 mV. Flocculant dosing prior to filtration increased floc reformation and prevented breakthrough when charge destabilisation was sub-optimal, and could prove a useful strategy to employ when experiencing challenging winter conditions.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: PhD
Title: Relationships between floc properties and NOM removal using a moorland water source
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Civil, Environ and Geomatic Eng
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1417138
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