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Water Res. 2002 Dec;36(20):5066-73.

Removal of THM precursors by coagulation or ion exchange.

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CSIRO Molecular Science, Clayton South, Victoria, Australia.


The removal of natural organic matter (NOM) from drinking water supplies can be achieved by different processes, among them coagulation and adsorption. Synthetic waters made from concentrates of humic substances from reservoir and river waters were tested in the laboratory for ease of removAl of NOM by coagulation with cationic organic polymers and with alum, and by adsorption on anion exchangers. For polymers such as high molecular weight polydiallyldimethylammonium chloride (polyDADMAC) and cationic polyacrylamides of high charge, performance was nearly as effective as alum, with colour removals 86-100% of those obtained for alum. Ion exchange using the best commercially available resins designed for this purpose, a gel polystyrene and a macroporous acrylic resin, was more effective than alum treatment for two of the natural waters studied, but inferior for a third. The resins were overall superior to cationic polymers. The NOM was separated into four fractions based on hydrophobic and hydrophilic properties. Alum was not as effective as ion exchange for the elimination of individual ionic NOM fractions. It was better than cationic polymers for removal of humic and fulvic acids, although polyDADMAC was as good for one water. For the removal of charged compounds alum then polyDADMAC were the best performers for that water. Unequivocal evidence was obtained that coagulants remove material that is not adsorbed by resins, and vice versa. A combination of coagulation with a cationic polymer and adsorption by an anion exchanger removed essentially all of the NOM. The preference of the coagulants was for the larger, more hydrophobic molecules, and of resins for smaller highly charged hydrophilic molecules. Each fraction had trihalomethane formation potentials in the range 11-24 microg/mg, except for one water that was more reactive. Hence, the actual amount of each fraction in the original water becomes a crucial factor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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