Coagulation of Natural Organic Matter, A Review

Sillanpää M, Ncibi MC, Matilainen A, Vepsäläinen M. Removal of natural organic matter in drinking water treatment by coagulation: A comprehensive review. Chemosphere. 2017 Sep 25;190:54-71. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2017.09.113.

Natural organic matter (NOM) is a complex matrix of organic substances produced in (or channeled to) aquatic ecosystems via various biological, geological and hydrological cycles. Such variability is posing a serious challenge to most water treatment technologies, especially the ones designed to treat drinking water supplies. Lately, in addition to the fluctuating composition of NOM, a substantial increase of its concentration in fresh waters, and also municipal wastewater effluents, has been reported worldwide, which justifies the urgent need to develop highly efficient and versatile water treatment processes. Coagulation is among the most applied processes for water and wastewater treatment. The application of coagulation to remove NOM from drinking water supplies has received a great deal of attention from researchers around the world because it was efficient and helped avoiding the formation of disinfection by products (DBPs). Nonetheless, with the increased fluctuation of NOM in water (concentration and composition), the efficiency of conventional coagulation was substantially reduced, hence the need to develop enhanced coagulation processes by optimizing the operating conditions (mainly the amount coagulants and pH), developing more efficient inorganic or organic coagulants, as well as coupling coagulation with other water treatment technologies. In the present review, recent research studies dealing with the application of coagulation for NOM removal from drinking water supplies are presented and compared. In addition, integration schemes combining coagulation and other water treatment processes are presented, including membrane filtration, oxidation, adsorption and others processes.

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