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UNIVERSITY OF GUYANA

Faculty of Technology

Department of Civil Engineering

Name: Siddiq Khan


USI: 10105831
Course: Water Supply and Wastewater Engineering
Lecturer: Mr. Maxwell Jackson
Date: 21-3-2018
Table of Contents
1.0 Introduction ........................................................................................................................ 2

2.0 Coagulation......................................................................................................................... 4

2.1 Colloidal Characteristics ............................................................................................... 4

2.2 Coagulation of Colloids (Destabilization) .................................................................... 6

2.3 Coagulants ...................................................................................................................... 7

2.4 Coagulant Aids ............................................................................................................... 7

2.5 Selecting Coagulant and Coagulant Aids .................................................................... 8

3.0 Rapid Mixing ...................................................................................................................... 9

3.1 Mechanical Agitation ..................................................................................................... 9

3.2 Pneumatic Agitation .................................................................................................... 10

3.3 Baffle Basins ................................................................................................................. 11

4.0 Flocculation ...................................................................................................................... 12

4.1 Flocculent Settling ........................................................................................................ 12

4.2 Types of Flocculation ................................................................................................... 13

4.3 Mechanism of Flocculation ......................................................................................... 14

5.0 Conclusion ........................................................................................................................ 15

References ............................................................................................................................... 16

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1.0 Introduction
Water and waste management covers the design, building and operation of plants for water
treatment and supply, sewerage, wastewater treatment and disposal, and solid waste treatment
and disposal. It aims to understand and control pollution of air, water and land, and to improve
amenity (Scott and Smith, 2005).
Wastewaters are normally treated by a combination of physicochemical and biological
operations. However, it is possible to treat wastewaters solely with physicochemical methods
(Droste, 1997). According to Pawłowski (1980), physicochemical treatment of wastewater
focuses primarily on the separation of colloidal particles. This is achieved through the addition
of chemicals (called coagulants and flocculants). These change the physical state of the colloids
allowing them to remain in an indefinitely stable form and therefore form into particles or flocs
with settling properties.
A brief description of two physicochemical processes used for water and wastewater
treatment, viz. coagulation and flocculation, are given in this document, along with an
explanation of where the processes may occur in the treatment stream.
The Dictionary of Water and Waste Management (Scott and Smith, 2005) defines
flocculation as the grouping of solids in water, resulting in flocs, often wrongly thought to be
the same as coagulation; it can be promoted by gentle stirring (mechanical flocculation) or by
adding chemicals (flocculants). Likewise, coagulation is defined as the addition of a chemical
to water or wastewater to form a precipitate (usually a metal hydroxide) that entraps or adsorbs
unwanted material such as suspended particles, colloids, colour, etc.
According to Reynolds and Richards (1996), in water treatment the principal use of
coagulation and flocculation is to agglomerate solids prior to sedimentation and rapid sand
filtration. In municipal wastewater treatment, coagulation and flocculation are used to
agglomerate solids in the physicochemical treatment of raw wastewaters and primary or
secondary effluents. In industrial waste treatment, coagulation is employed to coalesce solids
in wastewaters that have an appreciable suspended solids content. In water treatment, the
principal coagulants used are aluminium and iron salts, although polyelectrolytes are employed
to some extent in wastewater treatment, aluminium and iron salts, lime, and polyelectrolytes
are used. Chemical precipitation, which is closely related to chemical coagulation, consists of
the precipitation of unwanted ions from a water or wastewater. In the coagulation of municipal
wastewaters, not only does coagulation of solids occur, but also the chemical precipitation of
much of the phosphate ion takes place.

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Figure 1: Waste water treatment process.
Taken from:
https://www.researchgate.net/post/What_is_the_difference_between_coagulation_flocculatio
n_and_sedimentation on March 15, 2018 at 03:55 hrs.

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2.0 Coagulation
Derived from the Latin coagulare meaning driving together, coagulation refers to
destabilization or neutralization of the negative charges contained in the wastewater by the
addition of a coagulant applied during rapid mixing (which can vary from 250 - 1500 s-1) and
a very short contact time (times ranging between 5 - 60 s) (Libhaber and Jaramillo, 2012).

Figure 2: Coagulation
Taken from: http://www.bionicsro.com/water-treatment-chemicals/alum-salt.html on
March 15, 2018 at 03:40 hrs.

2.1 Colloidal Characteristics


The Dictionary of Water and Waste Management (Scott and Smith, 2005) defines colloids
as particles smaller than 0.002 mm but larger than 0.000 001 mm. A significant portion of the
non-settleable matter in wastewater is colloids. An important feature of a solid colloid
dispersed in water is that the solid particles will not settle by the force of gravity. When a solid
colloid stays in suspension and does not settle, the system is in a stable condition (Reynolds
and Richards, 1996).
According to Droste (1997), colloids have an extremely large surface area per unit volume
of the particles — that is, a large specific surface area. Because, of the large surface area,
colloids tend to adsorb substances, such as water molecules and ions from the surrounding
water. Also, colloids develop or have an electrostatic charge relative to the surrounding water.
Colloidal solids in water may be classified as hydrophilic or hydrophobic according to their
affinity for water.
Hydrophilic colloids have an affinity for water because of the existence of water-soluble
groups on the colloidal surface. Some of the principal groups are the amino, carboxyl, sulfonic,
and hydroxyl. Since these groups are water-soluble, they promote hydration and cause a water

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layer or film to collect and surround the hydrophilic colloid. Frequently, this water layer or
film is termed the water of hydration or bound water. Usually, organic colloids, such as proteins
and their degradation products, are hydrophilic.
Hydrophobic colloids have little, if any, affinity for water; as a result they do not have any
significant water film or water of hydration. Usually inorganic colloids, such as clays, are
hydrophobic. Colloidal particles have electrostatic forces that are important in maintaining a
dispersion of the colloid.
The surface of a colloidal particle tends to acquire an electrostatic charge due to the
ionization of surface groups and the adsorption of ions from the surrounding solution. Also,
colloidal minerals such as clays, have an electrostatic charge due to the ionic deficit within the
mineral lattice. Hydrophilic colloids such as proteinaceous materials and microbes have
charges due to the ionization of such groups as the amino (—NH2) and the carboxyl (—COOH),
which are located on the colloidal surface. When the pH is at the isoelectric point, the net or
overall charge is zero since the amino group is ionized (—NH3-) and also the carboxyl group
is ionized (—COO-). At a pH below the isoelectric point, the carboxyl group is not ionized
(—COOH), and the colloid is positively charged as a result of the ionized amino group
(—NH3-). At a pH above the isoelectric point, the amino group loses a hydrogen, producing a
neutral group (—NH2), and the colloid is negatively charged because of the ionized carboxyl
group (—COO-) (Reynolds and Richards, 1996).
In general, most naturally occurring hydrophilic colloids such as proteinaceous matter and
microbes have a negative charge if the pH is at or above the neutral range. Some colloidal
materials such as oil droplets and some other chemically inert substances will preferentially
adsorb negative ions, particularly the hydroxyl ion, from their surrounding solution and become
negatively charged. Usually most naturally occurring hydrophobic colloids, such as clays, are
inorganic materials and have a negative charge. The sign and magnitude of the charge of a
colloid will depend on the type of colloidal matter and on the characteristics of the surrounding
solution.
In most colloidal systems, the colloids are maintained in suspension (in other words,
stabilized) as a result of the electrostatic forces of the colloids themselves. Since most naturally
occurring colloids are negatively charged and like charges are repulsive, the colloids remain in
suspension because of the action of the repulsive forces.
A negative colloidal particle will attract to its surface ions of the opposite charge —
counterions — from the surrounding water. The compact layer of counterions is frequently
termed the fixed layer; outside the fixed layer is the diffused layer.
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Hydrophilic colloids have a shear surface at the outer boundary of the bound water layer.
Conversely, hydrophobic colloids have a shear surface near the outer boundary of the fixed
layer.

2.2 Coagulation of Colloids (Destabilization)


When a coagulant is added to a water or wastewater, destabilization of the colloids occurs
and a coagulant floc is formed. Since the chemistry involved is very complex, the following
discussion is intended to be introductory and will illustrate the interactions known to occur.
These interactions are (1) the reduction of the zeta potential – potential difference existing
between the surface of a solid particle immersed in a conducting liquid and the bulk of the
liquid to a degree where the attractive van der Waals forces – and the agitation provided cause
the particles to coalesce; (2) the aggregation of particles by interparticulate bridging between
reactive groups on the colloids: and (3) the enmeshment of particles in the precipitate floc that
is formed. The repulsive forces are due to the electrostatic zeta potential, and the attractive
forces are due to van der Waals forces acting between the particles. The net resultant force is
attractive out to the distance x. Beyond this point the net resultant force is repulsive (Reynolds
and Richards, 1996).
When a coagulant salt is added to a water, it dissociates, and the metallic ion undergoes
hydrolysis and creates positively charged hvdroxo-metallic ion complexes. Usually a coagulant
is an aluminium salt, such as Al2(SO4)3, or an iron salt, such as Fe2(SO4)3. Numerous species
of hydroxo-metallic complexes are formed because the complexes, which are hydrolysis
products, tend to polymerize.
Hydroxo-metallic complexes are polyvalent, possess high positive charges, and are
adsorbed to the surface of the negative colloids. This results in a reduction of the zeta potential
to a level where the colloids are destabilized. The destabilized particles, along, with their
adsorbed hvdroxo-metallic complexes, aggregate by interparticulate attraction due to van der
Waals' forces. These forces are aided by the gentle agitation of the water.
In the aggregation process, the agitation is very important since it causes the destabilised
particles to come in close vicinity or collide and then coalesce. The aggregation of the
destabilized particles also occurs by interparticulate bridging involving chemical interactions
between reactive groups on the destabilized particles. The agitation of the water is also
important in this type of aggregation since it causes interparticulate contacts (Droste, 1997).

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In conclusion, proper coagulation and flocculation of a water are very important in the
settling of the coagulated water, because the settling velocity is proportional to the square of
the particle diameter. Thus the production of the large floc particles results in rapid settling.

2.3 Coagulants
The most widely used coagulants in water treatment are aluminium sulphate and iron salts.
Aluminium sulphate (filter alum) is employed, more frequently than iron salts because it is
usually cheaper. Iron salts have an advantage over filter alum because they are effective over
a wider pH range. In the lime-soda softening process, the lime serves as a coagulant since it
produces a heavy floc or precipitate consisting of calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide.
This precipitate has coagulating and flocculating properties. The most widely used coagulants
in wastewater treatment are filter alum and lime (Reynolds and Richards, 1996).
Sometimes coagulant aids such as recycled sludge or polyelectrolytes, are required to
produce a rapid-settling floc. The principal factors affecting the coagulation and flocculation
of water or wastewater are turbidity, suspended solids, temperature, pH, cationic and anionic
composition and concentration, duration and degree of agitation during coagulation and
flocculation, dosage and nature of the coagulant, and, if required, the coagulant aid.

2.4 Coagulant Aids


According to Reynolds and Richards (1996) in both water and wastewater treatment,
coagulant aids are sometimes used to produce a quick-forming, dense, rapid-settling floc and
to insure optimum coagulation.
Alkalinity addition is required to aid coagulation if the natural alkalinity is insufficient to
produce a good floc. Lime is usually used, and it may be fed as slaked lime (milk of lime) or
hydrated lime. Soda ash (sodium carbonate) is used to a lesser extent than lime since it is more
expensive than quicklime. Soda ash is available as a powder and may be dry fed.
Polyelectrolytes are also used to obtain optimum coagulation, and these aids may be
classified according to their ionic characteristics. There are anionic (negatively charged),
cationic (positively charged), and polyampholites, which have both positively and negatively
charged groups. Polyelectrolytes may be of natural origin such as starch or polysaccharide
gums, or they may be synthetic in origin. Most polyelectrolytes used in water and wastewater
treatment are synthetic organic chemicals. When used as coagulant aids, they assist in
coagulation, principally by chemical bridging or interaction between reactive groups on the
polyelectrolyte and the floc.

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Turbidity addition, such as recycling some chemically precipitated sludge ahead of the
mixing or flocculation basins, is occasionally required to furnish sufficient particulate
concentrations for rapid coagulation. Adequate particulate concentrations provide sufficient
interparticulate collisions to yield optimum coagulation. Clays are sometimes used for turbidity
addition instead of recycled sludge.
Adjustment of pH is required if the pH of the coagulated water does not fall within the pH
range for minimum solubility of the metallic hydroxide. Increasing the pH is usually done by
addition of lime; pH reduction is usually accomplished by the addition of a mineral acid, such
as sulfuric acid.

2.5 Selecting Coagulant and Coagulant Aids


The selection of a coagulant requires the use of laboratory or pilot plant coagulation
studies, since a given water or wastewater may show optimum coagulation results for a
particular coagulant. Usually laboratory studies using the jar test are adequate for selecting a
coagulant for a water treatment plant, whereas laboratory and frequently pilot studies are
required for wastewaters (Reynolds and Richards, 1996).
The laboratory technique of the jar test is usually used to determine the proper coagulant
and coagulant aid, if needed, and the chemical dosages required for the coagulation of a
particular water. In this test, samples of the water are poured into a series of glass beakers, and
various dosages of the coagulant and coagulant aid are added to the beakers. The contents are
rapidly stirred to simulate rapid mixing and then gently stirred to simulate flocculation. After
a given time, the stirring is ceased and the floc formed is allowed to settle. Measurements are
taken and, subsequently, the most effective or efficient coagulant and coagulant aid are chosen
(Mara, 2005).

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3.0 Rapid Mixing
The rapid mixing stage is possibly the most important component of coagulation-
flocculation processes, since it is here that destabilization reactions occur and where primary
floc particles are formed, whose characteristics markedly influence subsequent flocculation
kinetics (Mara, 2005).
In the rapid-mix basins, intense mixing or agitation is required to disperse the chemicals
uniformly throughout the basin and to allow adequate contact between the coagulant and the
suspended particles. By the time the water leaves the rapid-mix basins, the coagulation process
has progressed sufficiently to form micro flocs.
In the flocculation basins, the fine micro flocs begin to agglomerate into larger floc
particles. This aggregation process (flocculation) is dependent on the duration and amount of
gentle agitation applied to the water. By the time the water leaves the flocculation basins, the
floc has agglomerated into large, dense, rapid-settling floc particles. The types of devices
usually used to furnish the agitation required in both rapid mixing and flocculation may be
generally classified as (1) mechanical agitators, such as paddles, (2) pneumatic agitators, and
(3) baffle basins. The mechanical type is the most common (Reynolds and Richards, 1996).
Although power for rapid mixing may be imparted to the water by mechanical agitation,
pneumatic agitation, and baffle basins, the power required for each method must be the same
if the mixing is to be at the same intensity.

3.1 Mechanical Agitation


Mechanical agitation is the most common method for rapid mixing since it is reliable, very
effective, and extremely flexible in operation. Usually rapid mixing employs vertical-shaft
rotary mixing devices such as turbine impellers, paddle impellers, or in some cases, propellers.
All of the rotary mixing devices impart motion to the water in addition to turbulence (Mara,
2005).
Since the optimum velocity gradient may vary with respect to time, it is desirable to have
equipment with variable-speed drives. A speed variation of 1:4 is commonly used. Numerous
variable drive devices are commercially available. If only one chemical is added, a mixing
basin with only one compartment may be used. If, however, more than one chemical is
required, sequential application and dispersion of each chemical is desirable, necessitating
multiple compartments.

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Mechanical mixing basins are not affected to any extent by variation in the flowrate and
have low head losses. Detention times from 20 to 60sec are generally used, although some
mixing basins have had detention times as small as l0 sec or as long as 2~5 min.

Figure 3: Typical mechanical rapid mixer.


Taken from: Unit Operations and Processes in Environmental Engineering (Reynolds
and Richards, 1996) on March 16, 2018 at 18:30hrs.

3.2 Pneumatic Agitation


Pneumatic mixing basins employ tanks and aeration devices somewhat similar to those
used in the activated sludge process. The detention times and velocity gradients are of the same
magnitude and range as those used for mechanical rapid mixing. Variation of the velocity
gradient may be obtained by varying the air flowrate. Pneumatic mixing is not affected to any
extent by variations in the influent flowrate, and the hydraulic head losses are relatively small
(Mara, 2005).

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Figure 4: Typical pneumatic rapid mixer.
Taken from: Unit Operations and Processes in Environmental Engineering (Reynolds
and Richards, 1996) on March 16, 2018 at 19:36hrs.

3.3 Baffle Basins


The baffle-type mixing basins depend on hydraulic turbulence to furnish the desired
velocity gradient. The velocity gradient imparted to the water and the volume is determined
from the flowrate and the detention time. The head loss usually varies from 1 to 3 ft. (0.3 to
0.9 m), and these basins have very little short circuiting. Baffle basins are not suitable where
there is a wide variation in the flowrate, and it is not possible to vary the velocity gradient to
any extent. Because of these disadvantages, baffle basins are presently not widely used. In both
mechanical and pneumatic mixing, varying the power imparted results in a variation of the
velocity gradient (Mara, 2005).

Figure 5: Typical Baffle basin rapid mixer.


Taken from: Unit Operations and Processes in Environmental Engineering (Reynolds
and Richards, 1996) on March 16, 2018 at 19:59 hrs.

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4.0 Flocculation
Flocculation is stimulation by mechanical means to agglomerate destabilised particles into
compact, fast settleable particles (or flocs). Flocculation or gentle agitation results from
velocity differences or gradients in the coagulated water, which causes the fine moving,
destabilized particles to come into contact and become large, readily settleable flocs. It is a
common practice to provide an initial rapid (or) flash mix for the dispersal of the coagulant or
other chemicals into the water. Slow mixing is then done, during which the growth of the floc
takes place. Significantly, it must be noted that flocculation is a physical process that does not
involves the addition of chemicals (Warren, 2004).
Design contact times for flocculation range from 15 or 20 minutes to an hour or more, and
flocculation requires careful attention to the mixing velocity and amount of mix energy. To
prevent floc from tearing apart or shearing, the mixing velocity and energy are usually tapered
off as the size of floc increases. Once flocs are torn apart, it is difficult to get them to reform to
their optimum size and strength. The amount of operator control available in flocculation is
highly dependent upon the type and design of the equipment.

4.1 Flocculent Settling


In flocculent settling, the particles agglomerate themselves and form flocs that tend to
grow in size while settling. With the increase in the size of the particles (flocs), there is an
increase in the settling velocity. Therefore, in flocculent settling the velocity is not constant as
in discrete settling, but tends to increase (Pawlowski, 1980).
Since the flocculation occurs while the particles go to the bottom, the greater the chance
of contact they have, the greater will be the floc formation. As a result, the removal efficiency
in flocculent settling is increased with an increase in the depth H and in the time t (differently
from discrete settling). Similarly to discrete settling, flocculent settling in an ideal horizontal
flow tank can be compared with settling in a column without flow.

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Figure 6: Stokes Law and Settling Particles
Taken from: Unit Operations and Processes in Environmental Engineering (Reynolds
and Richards, 1996) on March 20, 2018 at 04:59 hrs.

4.2 Types of Flocculation


The flocculation process can be broadly classified into two types, perikinetic and
orthokinetic (Mara, 2004).
Perikinetic flocculation refers to flocculation (contact or collisions of colloidal particles)
due to Brownian motion of colloidal particles. The random motion of colloidal particles results
from their rapid and random bombardment by the molecules of the fluid.
Orthokinetic flocculation refers to contacts or collisions of colloidal particles resulting
from bulk fluid motion, such as stirring. In systems of stirring, the velocity of the fluid varies
both spatially (from point to point) and temporally (from time to time). The spatial changes in
velocity are identified by a velocity gradient, G.

Figure 7: Types of Aggregation (Shete et al., 2017).


Accessed on March 19, 2018 at 22:36 hrs.

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4.3 Mechanism of Flocculation
According to Scott and Smith (2005), mechanism involved with flocculation are as follows:
Gravitational flocculation: Baffle type mixing basins are examples of gravitational
flocculation. Water flows by gravity and baffles are provided in the basins which induce the
required velocity gradients for achieving floc formation.
Mechanical flocculation: Mechanical flocculators consists of revolving paddles with
horizontal or vertical shafts or paddles suspended from horizontal oscillating beams, moving
up and down.

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5.0 Conclusion
Physicochemical treatment may constitute a single stage in the wastewater treatment
process or be added as an additional treatment process during pre-treatment (to improve the
biodegradation of wastewater in the biological process and secondary treatment (such as
polishing). The two most widely utilised physiochemical processes are coagulation and
flocculation.
Coagulation and flocculation are two processes commonly used in water treatment in order
to get rid of unwanted suspended material in water. However, they can be commonly adopted
for de-stabilizing any suspension system. Coagulation involves the use of a coagulant which
has the potential to de-stabilize the previously stabilized charged particles in the suspension. In
contrast, in flocculation, the de-stabilization is brought about by physical techniques such as
mixing of the solution, and also sometimes aided by the addition of polymers.

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References
Droste, Ronald L. Theory and Practice of Water and Wastewater Treatment. New York: Wiley,
1997.

Libhaber, M., and A. O. Jaramillo. Sustainable Treatment and Reuse of Municipal Wastewater.
London: IWA Publishing, 2012.

Mara, D. Duncan. Domestic Wastewater Treatment in Developing Countries. London:


Earthscan Publications, 2004.

Pawlowski, Lucjan. Physicochemical Methods for Water and Wastewater Treatment:


Proceedings of the Second International Conference, Lublin, June 1979. Oxford:
Pergamon Press, 1980.

Rapid Mixing, Coagulation and Flocculation. Accessed March 20, 2018.


http://nptel.ac.in/courses/105104102/Lecture 8.htm.

Reynolds, Tom D., and Paul A. Richards. Unit Operations and Processes in Environmental
Engineering. Boston: PWS Pub., 1996.

Thakkar, Shreya, Viral Shah, Manju Misra, and Kiran Kalia. "Nanocrystal Based Drug
Delivery System: Conventional and Current Scenario." Recent Patents on
Nanotechnology11, no. 2 (2017). doi:10.2174/1872210510666161014122439.

Viessman, Warren. Water Supply and Pollution Control. 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ:
Pearson Education, 2005.

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