Chemical precipitation in combination with biological treatment is a commonly used method for removal of turbidity and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) from drinking water. DOC is largely removed during biological treatment, which includes ozonation and filtration through a biologically active carbon (BAC) filter. Ozone converts humic substances into a biologically labile form that is mineralised by bacteria living in the following BAC filter. This study shows that this approach is often not efficient for removal of DOC from waters with a high amount of humic substances. During chemical treatment, the microbiologically available phosphorus is very efficiently removed, which results in shortages of phosphorus needed for bacteria to mineralise carbon in BAC filters. To enhance removal of DOC by biological treatment, addition of phosphorus prior to the BAC filters should be considered.

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