The occurrence of the protozoan parasite Cryptosporidium parvum in water supplies, and the resultant outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis in the UK and USA, have led to concern over the ability of conventional water treatment processes to remove Cryptosporidia from water sources. Large scale pilot plant trials of water treatment have been carried out in the UK to establish the degree of removal that can be achieved by a range of treatment processes, including dissolved air flotation, and to compare the performance of different treatment options. Results from part of these trials are presented in this paper. These results suggest that well operated chemical coagulation based treatment, using either dissolved air flotation or floc blanket clarification, should be capable of achieving removal of Cryptosporidium oocysts of over 99%. There was no evidence of differences in performance between the different types of filter media investigated. The risk of increased Cryptosporidium concentration in the filtered water will increase as filtrate turbidity increases. However, other factors such as high coagulant metal-ion concentration in the filtered water, or a sudden increase in clarified water turbidity, without any increase in filtered water turbidity, may also indicate treatment problems and associated risk from Cryptosporidia. Recycling of backwash waters may also increase the risk.

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