Coagulant Recovery from Waterworks Sludge

by James Keeley

Institution: Cranfield University
Year: 2014
Keywords: Water treatment residual; ultrafiltration; Donnan dialysis; organo-metallic separation; phosphorus removal
Record ID: 1390734
Full text PDF: http://dspace.lib.cranfield.ac.uk/handle/1826/9218


Coagulation is a ubiquitous process in the treatment of raw surface water for eventual potable use. Despite its capabilities, the sheer scale of its use is manifested in the volumes of chemicals it demands and waste sludge it produces. Recovering and reusing the chemical activity of the coagulant sludge in water treatment is a logical solution but this practice has been restricted by the presence of contaminants within the sludge. This thesis has investigated methods that can separate the coagulant metals from these primarily natural organic contaminants, with an aim of producing a sufficiently pure coagulant for effective treatment performance when reused. A process of ultrafiltration of the impure regenerated coagulant followed by a powdered activated carbon polishing stage compared favourably to a number of other separation processes and was found to remove the most dissolved organic compounds. When the purified coagulant was used to treat raw water, it provided better turbidity removal than commercial coagulant and matched its removal of trihalomethane precursors, making the process suitable for consideration at full-scale. Analysis of the whole life cost suggested that such performance could be reproduced at full-scale within a 25 year payback period. The reuse of even purified recovered coagulants in drinking water treatment still carries risks which may deter its implementation. Therefore the efficacy of recovered coagulants in the role of phosphorus removal from wastewater was also investigated. This showed that both acidified and unacidified waterworks sludges, with sufficient contact time, could remove similar levels of phosphorus as fresh coagulants, at approximately half the whole life cost.