Particle breakthrough can occur by either the breakoff of previously captured particles (or flocs) or the direct passage of some influent particles through the filter. Filtration experiments were performed in a laboratory-scale filter using spherical glass beads with a diameter of 0.55 mm as collectors. A single type of particle suspension (Min-U-Sil 5) and three different destabilisation methods (pH control, alum and polymer destabilisation) were used to destabilise particles. The filtration velocity of 5 m/h was similar to that used in standard media filtration practice. To assess the possibility of particle detachment during normal filtration, a hydraulic shock load (20% increase of flow rate) was applied after 4 h of normal filtration. The magnitude of particle detachment was proportional to the particle size for non-Brownian particles. At the same time, less favourable particles, i.e. particles with larger surface charge, were easily detached during the hydraulic shock load. Therefore, proper particle destabilisation before filtration is crucial for maximum particle removal, as well as minimum particle breakthrough.

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