Enhanced coagulation: a viable option to advance treatment technologies in the South African context

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Laboratory and pilot scale tests were conducted to compare the effectiveness of enhanced coagulation with the more advanced technologies of ozone and granular activated carbon in treating a range of clean, eutrophic and industrially polluted waters. Particular attention was paid to the removal of disinfectant by-product precursors, organics and micropollutants that could be achieved using the various types of treatment. Reductions of up to 50% trihalomethane formation potential and between 40 and 70% organic carbon and colour were obtained using enhanced coagulation, which compared favourably with the advanced treatment processes. The more sophisticated processes were especially effective in the removal of micropollutants, this generally being in excess of 70%, which was not achievable using enhanced coagulation. pH depression using acid addition allowed for increases in organics removal at lower coagulant doses and inorganic coagulants were found to be more effective than the polymeric coagulants for organic matter removal. It was shown that the advanced treatment processes became more cost effective for larger plants and as water quality deteriorates, but for smaller water works, enhanced coagulation is cheaper.

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