Optimisation of coagulation-direct filtration processes with respect to efficient removal of humic substances, i.e. natural organic matter (NOM) has gained a lot of focus in many countries over the last years. This paper presents experimental results from pilot scale research studies aimed at optimising the coagulation-direct filtration process applied to soft and humic raw waters with low turbidity and alkalinity levels. Comprehensive tests of 3 types of raw waters with different NOM content, 5 types of coagulants, and 3 calcium sources for the purpose of corrosion control have been conducted. Removal efficiencies with respect to relevant water quality parameters are presented, with typical relationships between raw water NOM content, coagulant dose requirements and pH. Generally, when applying metal-based coagulants, residual metal concentration was the critical parameter regarding minimum coagulant dose requirements. Typical NOM removal efficiencies were in the range of 75-90% and 40-70% with respect to colour and organic carbon, respectively. Optimum pH conditions for the removal of NOM and/or residual metals do not always coincide with that of turbidity. The experiments also showed that poly-aluminium and ferric chlorides might have some benefits over alum in terms of dose requirements and range of optimum pH values, and that chitosan may be used for colour removal with good results.

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