Send to

Choose Destination
Water Res. 2011 Nov 1;45(17):5428-40. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2011.08.014. Epub 2011 Aug 16.

Seawater pretreatment for reverse osmosis: chemistry, contaminants, and coagulation.

Author information

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003-9293, USA.


The paper addresses the effects of salinity and temperature on the chemistry of important parameters affecting coagulation pretreatment including the ion product of water, acid-base chemistry, dissolved metal speciation, and precipitation reactions for aluminum and iron coagulants. The ion product of seawater is greater than for freshwaters and affects chemical hydrolysis and metal-hydroxide solubility reactions. Inorganic carbon is the main cause of seawater alkalinity and buffer intensity but borate B(OH)(4)(1-) also contributes. Buffer intensity is an important parameter in assessing coagulation pH adjustment. Mineral particles are relatively unstable in seawater from electrical double layer compression, and when present these particles are easily coagulated. Algal-particle stability is affected by steric effects and algal motility. Dissolved natural organic matter from algae and humic substances causes fouling of RO membranes and pretreatment removal is essential. Aluminum coagulants are not recommended, and not used, because they are too soluble in seawater. Ferric coagulants are preferred and used. The equilibrium solubility of Fe with amorphous ferric hydroxide in seawater is low over a wide range of pH and temperature conditions. Ferric chloride dosing guidelines are presented for various raw seawater quality characteristics. The effect of pH on coagulant dose and the role of buffer intensity are addressed. A dual coagulation strategy is recommended for treating seawater with moderate to high concentrations of algae or seawater with humic matter. This involves a low and constant dose with high charge-density cationic polymers using Fe as the main coagulant where it is varied in response to raw water quality changes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center