Seasonal periods of high rainfall have been shown to cause elevated natural organic matter (NOM) loadings at treatment works. These high levels lead to difficulties in removing sufficient NOM to meet trihalomethane (THM) standards, and hence better alternative treatments are required. Here three options for the removal of NOM either by optimising current coagulation and pre- or post-coagulation have been studied. NOM can be isolated into fractions distinguished by their hydrophobic and hydrophilic characteristics. Previous studies have shown that certain fractions are more recalcitrant to treatment during the times of high loadings. By optimising coagulation for these fractions a staged coagulation is proposed, the results of which found that although no significant dissolved organic carbon (DOC) or UV absorbance at 254 nm (UV254) was observed filter run times were significantly increased. Secondly a novel magnetic ion exchange process (MIEX®) developed specifically for the removal of NOM was trialled and the results of a combination of ferric coagulation and MIEX® showed that although the final DOC of the water was not significantly reduced the THM formation potential (THMFP) was reduced by more than 50% for the lower molecular weight (MW) compounds that are known to be untreated by conventional coagulation. Finally the addition of a range of adsorbents including carbons, hydroxides and clays to both the raw water and the isolated low MW fraction showed that an increase in DOC and UV254 removal was achievable. The findings of the three trials showed that at the difficult to treat times of the year, optimised removal for the low MW fractions could prove to be vital if legislation is changed.

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