Water utilities dose copper in drinking water systems to inhibit/kill microorganisms including algae. Under conditions observed in the systems, the majority of dosed copper is reported to be in dissolved forms of Cu-NOM and inorganic compounds. High concentrations (40 mg/L) of ferric salts are reported to be able to remove large amounts of copper. However, the fate of dissolved copper when a small amount of ferric salts (<2 mg/L) is present in natural water or in the distribution pipes when they are released from the corroded iron pipes are not known. The current paper investigates the mechanisms behind the dissolved copper removal in NOM-containing bulk water. When copper was dosed from 250–800 μg-Cu/L, relatively high solubility was demonstrated in Mundaring water, with dissolved copper increased from 250–720 μg-Cu/L. Both ferric chloride and ferric hydroxide were found to have a considerable ability to remove dissolved copper while the former showed higher capacity. Ferric chloride showed a linear relationship with copper removal (R2=0.99) and the removal by ferric hydroxide showed excellent agreement with either the Freundlich (R2=0.98) or Langmuir (R2=0.99) adsorption isotherm.

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