Total suspended solids is a parameter commonly used to operate and design coagulation–flocculation processes. Nevertheless, their application for an advanced primary treatment (a high performance but low dose demand coagulation processes coupled with a high rate sedimentator, sometimes called enhanced primary treatment) is not the best option to produce an effluent for agricultural irrigation. This paper compares the best operating conditions obtained using the TSS or the PSD (particle size distribution) as parameters to follow the efficiency. The treatment objective was to remove particles >20 μm, in such conditions that the effluent can contain organic matter and nutrients necessary for crops with a reduced number of helminth ova (with sizes between 20 to 80 μm). Using the TSS as parameter, the best coagulation (460 s−1, 60 s contact time and 300 μmolAl/L) and flocculation (20 s−1 with 15 min) conditions produced an effluent with 1.2 HO/L. To obtain a similar results but using operating conditions determined with the PSD at a three times lower coagulant dose can be employed (diminishing operating costs and reducing the quantity of sludge produced), and a reduction on energy consumption of around eight times can be reached. Best operating conditions defined using the PSD (160 s−1, 60 s contact time and 100 μmolAl/L) produced an effluent with <0.4 HO/L.

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