The application of laser diffraction particle monitoring to the performance optimisation of a pilot clarifier and full-scale rapid gravity filters (RGF), operating on water supply works in Hampshire, is described. Furthermore the dosing of powdered activated carbon (PAC) into the works' clarifiers has been evaluated in terms of RGF performance. A costly proposal to install a third filter medium was subsequently abandoned when it was found that particle numbers in the filtered water were consistently below 1×102/ml.

Various combinations and doses of coagulants and flocculant aids, shown to give optimum particulates removal during intensive jar testing trials, were transferred to the pilot clarifier. Particle monitoring enabled a more accurate derivation of suitable blanket chemistry and optimum blanket heights than turbidity changes. Raw water turbidities were 10-15 NTU at start-up with corresponding counts beyond the upper limit of the particle monitor. An on-line dilution system was developed to overcome this problem. Latex bead (4.33 μm) and Lycopodium spore (4-5 μm) suspensions (about 1 × 109 particles) were injected into the pilot clarifier to assess the removal efficiency of Cryptosporidium-sized particles. Reductions of about 1.7 log and 2.6 log were achieved for the beads and spores, respectively. Particle distributions of various PAC's and a bentonite were obtained in order to assess their potential effects on the coagulation process during clarification. Bentonite was also beneficial as an on-line means of checking particle monitor response and calibration.

The works' filters achieved 1.5 to 2.0 log removals of 2-5 μm particles without media addition or operational changes. Combined clarification and filtration gave better particulates removal than two-stage microfiltration.

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