The feasibility of in-line coagulation as a pretreatment for ceramic microfiltration (MF) was verified by comparing its efficiency in the removal of viruses with that of the traditional mechanical mixing approach for coagulation, and by examining the effect of coagulant dose and coagulation time on virus removal. The in-line coagulation–ceramic MF system efficiently removed bacteriophage Qβ and MS2: removal ratios were >8.2 log for infectious viruses and >5.4 log for total (infectious + inactivated) virus particles. These values were similar to those of the mechanical coagulation–ceramic MF system. The in-line coagulation system has potential as a useful pretreatment for the removal of viruses as an alternative to the mechanical mixing system, because the former efficiently removes viruses and has a smaller footprint in treatment plants. For the in-line coagulation–ceramic MF system, a coagulant dose of 1.08 mg-Al/L and a coagulation time of 1 min were required to achieve a high level of virus removal. Infectious Qβ and MS2 were removed to similar levels by the two precoagulation methods tested, but the removal of total MS2 particles was higher than that of Qβ particles, possibly because of the selective interaction with the cake layer.
Keywords: bacteriophages, ceramic microfiltration, in-line coagulation, virus inactivation, virus removal