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Water Res. 2005 Mar;39(6):1047-60.

Capture of water-borne colloids in granular beds using external electric fields: improving removal of Cryptosporidium parvum.

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Environmental Engineering Science Program, Washington University in Saint Louis, Campus Box: 1180, Saint Louis, MO 63130, USA.


Suboptimal coagulation in water treatment plants often results in reduced removal efficiency of Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts by several orders of magnitude (J. AWWA 94(6) (2002) 97, J. AWWA 93(12) (2001) 64). The effect of external electric field on removal of C. parvum oocysts in packed granular beds was studied experimentally. A cylindrical configuration of electrodes, with granular media in the annular space was used. A negative DC potential was applied to the central electrode. No coagulants or flocculants were used and filtration was performed with and without application of an electric field to obtain improvement in removal efficiency. Results indicate that removal of C. parvum increased from 10% to 70% due to application of field in fine sand media and from 30% to 96% in MAGCHEM media. All other test particles (Kaolin and polystyrene latex microspheres) used in the study also exhibited increased removal in the presence of an electric field. Single collector efficiencies were also computed using approximate trajectory analysis, modified to account for the applied external electric field. The results of these calculations were used to qualitatively explain the trends in the experimental observations.

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