The dissolved organic matter (DOM) plays significant role in water safety due to not only the natural occurrence but also man-induced pollution. To characterize and predict DOM treatability becomes therefore a very important and hot topic. In this paper, enhanced coagulation by four typical coagulants (FeCl3, Al2(SO4)3, polyaluminum chloride (PAC) and high performance polyaluminum chloride (HPAC)) without pH control was characterized using the chemical fractionation (resin adsorption, RA) and physical fractionation (high performance size exclusion chromatography (HPSEC) combined with peak fitting technique). The results show that the DOM removal can be separated into two stages, rapid removal and continual slow removal. The PAC exhibits efficient removal in the rapid part while the traditional salts are more efficient in the latter part. It is also very important for pH control to improve DOM removal by the traditional coagulants. DOM treatability per unit dosage (1 × 10−4 mol/l) for the four coagulants was then calculated in the order of HPAC (26.0%) > PAC (17.3%) > FeCl3 (14.3%) > Al2(SO4)3 (12.0%). Two sets of DOM treatability models, i.e. removal efficiency, for enhanced coagulation of the four coagulants were developed by combining the chemical and physical DOM fractions based on the quantitative analysis of the removal state of raw water. The two sets of models could be transformed to each other. The composition of the removable DOM by enhanced coagulation of the four coagulants was revealed and validated using 29 raw waters (in 13 source waters in three seasons), and as a result the low deviation indicated that the predicted data matched well with the actual data. It provided the possibility for the application in practical operation of water plant.

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