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The jar test is a method of measuring the effect of coagulation, flocculation, and
sedimentation on turbidity. Although the procedure is not outlined in Standard Methods,
it is used in most water treatment plants to find the best coagulant dosages under varying
conditions. Coagulation or flocculation is the process of binding small particles in the
water together into larger, heavier clumps which settle out relatively quickly. Properly
formed flocculation will settle out of water quickly in the sedimentation basin, removing
the majority of the water's turbidity.
In many plants, changing water characteristics require the operator to adjust
coagulant dosages at intervals to achieve optimal coagulation. Different dosages of
coagulants are tested using a jar test, which mimics the conditions found in the treatment
plant. The first step of the jar test involves adding coagulant to the source water and
mixing the water rapidly (as it would be mixed in the flash mix chamber) to completely
dissolve the coagulant in the water. Then the water is mixed more slowly for a longer
time period, mimicking the flocculation basin conditions and allowing the forming
flocculation particles to cluster together. Finally, the mixer is stopped and the
flocculation is allowed to settle out, as it would in the sedimentation basin.
The type of source water will have a large impact on how often jar tests are
performed. Plants which treat groundwater may have very little turbidity to remove are
unlikely to be affected by weather-related changes in water conditions. As a result,
groundwater plants may perform jar tests seldom, if at all, although they can have
problems with removing the more difficult small suspended particles typically found in
groundwater. Surface water plants, in contrast, tend to treat water with a high turbidity
which is susceptible to sudden changes in water quality. Operators at these plants will
perform jar tests frequently, especially after rains, to adjust the coagulant dosage and deal
with the changing source water turbidity.
Raw water, after screening, continues to have impurities in suspension and in
solution. One of the objectives of water treatment is to promote the settling of suspended
particulate matter. The coagulation process utilizes what is known as a chemical
coagulant (aluminium or iron salts) to promote particle agglomeration. Most suspended
particles carry a negative electrostatic charge. This means that they repulse each other
and thus stay in suspension. If their electrostatic charge can be neutralized, they would
become destabilized, attract each other, agglomerate and settle.

Chemical coagulants are added to the raw water and for a brief period rapid
mixing is carried out. Having produced the micro flocculation, the objective is then to
produce a flocculation of adequate size that will settle under gravity. The next process is
to subject the micro flocculation solution to a slow flocculation procedure. Removal of
turbidity by coagulation depends on the type of colloids in suspension, the temperature,
pH, and chemical composition of the water, the type and dosage of coagulants, and the
degree and time of mixing provided for chemical dispersion and flocculation formation.

Volumetric flask
Analytical balance
Magnetic stirrer
Turbidometer and sample tubes
A stirring machine with six paddles capable of variable speeds from 0 to 100
revolutions per minute (RPM)
Coagulants and coagulant aids


1. Units of the jar test was checked before the experiment.
2. A turbid water sample was prepared by dissolving kaolin powder in distilled water.
3. The turbidity of the sample was determined and recorded.
4. A stock solution of alum was prepared by dissolved in 1L distilled water
5. Filled in each number beaker with sample.
6. Sodium carbonate solution was added to each beaker.
7. The stirrers was started at 60 - 80 rpm and quickly added alum in each beaker
and keep rapid mixing for 15 min
8. The speed of stirrers was reduced to 10 rpm and continued for 10 minutes.
9. The paddles was stopped and raised above water level.
10. The beakers was left for flocs to settle for 30 minutes.
13. Siphon out clear sample from each beaker without disturbing settled sludge.
14. Find out the turbidity of each sample.