Optimization of Humic Acids Coagulation with Aluminum and Iron(III) Salts
B. Libecki, J. Dziejowski
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Departament of Chemistry, University of Warmia and Mazury, Plac Łódzki 4, 10-757 Olsztyn, Poland
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2008;17(3):397–403
Humic substances contained in ground and surface waters increase the degree of their pollution, give it a specific colour and contribute to the formation of toxic disinfection by-products in the process of water treatment. Coagulation is an effective method of removing organic compounds, including humic acids (HA), from water and wastewater. The proper selection of coagulants and optimization of such parameters as coagulant dose and the pH of the solution enable improvement of coagulation efficiency. The objective of the present study was to determine the efficiency of humic acids removal by coagulation, depending on the dose of Al and Fe(III) salts and pH of the analyzed solutions. A model alkaline solution and 0.2 M solutions of Al2(SO4)3 and Fe2(SO4)3 were used. The experiment was performed with and without pHh adjustment, by a standard jar test procedure. COD-Cr [mg O2·dm-3], colour – PtCo [mg·dm-3], turbidity – FTU [mg·dm-3], suspended solids – SS [mg·dm-3], pH and streaming potential – SP [mV] were determined during coagulation tests. In the solutions coagulated without pH adjustment and with the optimum doses of Al2(SO4)3 and Fe2(SO4)3, COD was at a level of 0.1 to 3% of the initial value and colour was removed almost completely. Iron(III) sulfate was found to be slightly more effective as a coagulant, in respect to COD removal. The results of electrokinetic measurements showed that the charge of molecules of humic colloids depends on the type and concentration of coagulating salt, as well as on the pH of the solution. The analysis of coagulation with pH adjustment revealed that there exists the optimum value of pH for each of the salt doses applied in the experiment. Coagulation with the use of Al2(SO4)3 and Fe2(SO4)3 proceeded at pH < 5.8 and pH < 4.2, respectively. A decrease in the pH of an HA solution allowed us to considerably (even eight-fold) reduce the dose of coagulants, maintaining high (above 94%) efficiency of humic acid removal by coagulation.