Applicability of pebble matrix filtration for the pre-treatment of surface waters containing high turbidity and NOM

Rajapakse, Jay, Millar, Graeme, Gunawardana, Chandima, & Roux, Annalie (2016) Applicability of pebble matrix filtration for the pre-treatment of surface waters containing high turbidity and NOM. Desalination and Water Treatment, 57(52), pp. 24820-24832.

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Purification of drinking water is routinely achieved by use of conventional coagulants and disinfection procedures. However, there are instances such as flood events when the level of turbidity reaches extreme levels while NOM may be an issue throughout the year. Consequently, there is a need to develop technologies which can effectively treat water of high turbidity during flood events and natural organic matter (NOM) content year round. It was our hypothesis that pebble matrix filtration potentially offered a relatively cheap, simple and reliable means to clarify such challenging water samples. Therefore, a laboratory scale pebble matrix filter (PMF) column was used to evaluate the turbidity and natural organic matter (NOM) pre-treatment performance in relation to 2013 Brisbane River flood water. Since the high turbidity was only a seasonal and short term problem, the general applicability of pebble matrix filters for NOM removal was also investigated. A 1.0 m deep bed of pebbles (the matrix) partly in-filled with either sand or crushed glass was tested, upon which was situated a layer of granular activated carbon (GAC). Turbidity was measured as a surrogate for suspended solids (SS), whereas, total organic carbon (TOC) and UV Absorbance at 254 nm were measured as surrogate parameters for NOM. Experiments using natural flood water showed that without the addition of any chemical coagulants, PMF columns achieved at least 50% turbidity reduction when the source water contained moderate hardness levels. For harder water samples, above 85% turbidity reduction was obtained. The ability to remove 50% turbidity without chemical coagulants may represent significant cost savings to water treatment plants and added environmental benefits accrue due to less sludge formation. A TOC reduction of 35-47% and UV-254 nm reduction of 24-38% was also observed. In addition to turbidity removal during flood periods, the ability to remove NOM using the pebble matrix filter throughout the year may have the benefit of reducing disinfection by-products (DBP) formation potential and coagulant demand at water treatment plants. Final head losses were remarkably low, reaching only 11 cm at a filtration velocity of 0.70 m/h.

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ID Code: 93343
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: hardness, NOM, pebble matrix filtration, pre-treatment, turbidity
DOI: 10.1080/19443994.2016.1149741
ISSN: 1944-3994
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > CHEMICAL ENGINEERING (090400) > Water Treatment Processes (090410)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > CIVIL ENGINEERING (090500) > Water Quality Engineering (090508)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING (090700) > Environmental Technologies (090703)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Current > Institutes > Institute for Future Environments
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 Taylor & Francis
Copyright Statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Desalination and Water Treatment on 19 Feb 2016, available online:
Deposited On: 29 Feb 2016 23:49
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2017 06:48

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