A review of coagulation in drinking water treatment is presented. The paper emphasizes the importance of raw water chemistry, natural organic matter (NOM) concentration and type, and the chemistry of coagulants. Mineral and organic particles may be stable in water due to electrostatic charge interactions, hydrophilic effects, or to steric interactions from adsorbed macromolecules. NOM rather than particles initially in water supplies can control coagulant dosages and selection. MOM consists of a mixture of various organic compounds including hydrophobic (humic and fulvic acids) and hydrophilic fractions. The negative charge and chemical structure of the hydrophobic acids affect chemical reactions with coagulants, particularly metal based coagulants. The removal of NOM with Al coagulants can involve hydrolysis, complexation, precipitation, and adsorption reactions. Specific ultraviolet absorbance (SUVA) can be used to estimate whether the NOM of a water is high or low in hydrophobic acids and to estimate removals of DOC by coagulation. Preozonation of water supplies containing algae may lead to microflocculation or impair coagulation depending on algae type, concentration and molecular weight of extracellular organic matter (EOM), and ozone dose.

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