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Ewerts H.,North West University South Africa | Swanepoel A.,Rand Water Analytical Services | du Preez H.H.,Rand Water Analytical Services | du Preez H.H.,University of Johannesburg
Water SA | Year: 2013

Seven phytoplankton groups were recorded in the source water supplied to South Africa's largest conventional drinking water treatment plant (DWTP). Two phytoplankton genera, Anabaena and Ceratium were identified as the problem-causing phytoplankton due to their ability to interfere with the water treatment process and negatively impact on water quality. The objectives of this study were to identify problem-causing phytoplankton genera and investigate the efficacy of unit processes in removing phytoplankton genera and associated organic compounds. Phytoplankton and organic compound data were obtained from four different sampling localities throughout the treatment plant and statistically analysed to evaluate the removal efficiencies of unit processes. The highest percentage removal for the Cyanophyceae average seasonal concentration (>1 000cells/mℓ) was recorded at 98%, while the highest percentage removal for the Dinophyceae average seasonal concentration (± 9 cells/mℓ) was recorded at 100%. Microcystis and Anabaena were removed by the processes of coagulation, flocculation and sedimentation (> 95%), while Ceratium cells were removed by sand filtration (> 80%). Ineffective removal of Ceratium by coagulation, flocculation and sedimentation (and subsequent penetration to the sand filtration step) will negatively impact on filter run times when these phytoplankton genera are present in high concentrations in the source water. Total photosynthetic pigments (TPP) were removed effectively by all the different water treatment processes. Not enough statistical evidence could be displayed to suggest effective removal of geosmin in this conventional water treatment plant. With good removal of intact cyanobacteria cells during coagulation, flocculation and sedimentation, geosmin concentrations in the final water could be kept to accepted organoleptic levels of 5-10 ng/ℓ in the final water. Optimising conventional drinking water treatment processes can effectively remove problem-causing phytoplankton as well as their associated organic compounds and thereby reduce the potential risk to drinking water consumers. Source


Ewerts H.,North West University South Africa | Barnard S.,North West University South Africa | Swanepoel A.,Rand Water Analytical Services
Water SA | Year: 2016

Algal genera such as Carteria, Chlamydomonas, Chlorogonium, Cryptomonas, Ceratium, Peridinium and Euglena are motile and may disrupt unit processes and cause water treatment problems. Algal species belonging to these motile algal genera are known to interfere with coagulation and flocculation unit processes which are the main processes for algal removal. These cells are well adapted, by means of their motile structures, morphological shapes and storage products, to remain in the supernatant (by swimming or floating) until it is carried over to sand filters, where cells may cause filter-clogging problems. When organic material is released from algal cells as a result of physical-chemical impacts on the cells, it may result in taste-and odour-related problems or the formation of harmful organic products such as trihalomethanes (THM). The aims of this study were to: (i) determine chlorine concentrations required to immobilise C. hirundinella cells; (ii) determine the removal efficiencies of pre-chlorination; (iii) investigate the integrity of C. hirundinella cells; and (iv) identify trihalomethanes that are formed. Source water samples enriched with C. hirundinella cells were exposed to a pre-determined chlorine concentration range (0.05-0.45 mg/L). This study found that the half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50-values) for chlorine < 0.20 mg/L is sufficient to render C. hirundinella cells immobile, while cells remain intact. Pre-chlorination did not have an impact on C. hirundinella removal when hydrated lime was used as a coagulant or coagulant aid. However, when organic polymer only was used as coagulant, removal efficiencies were improved by 20%. Chlorine by-products were measured, but posed no specific health risks to drinking water consumers due to the low concentration levels measured. Algal removal challenges that occur in water treatment plants when dosing organic polymers can be resolved by implementation of effective pre-chlorination strategies. © 2016, South African Water Research Commission. All rights reserved. Source


Ewerts H.,Rand Water Analytical Services | Swanepoel A.,Rand Water Analytical Services | Du Preez H.H.,University of Johannesburg | Van Der Walt N.,Rand Water Analytical Services
Journal of Water Supply: Research and Technology - AQUA | Year: 2015

Total photosynthetic pigments (TPP) or chlorophyll-a analysis can be useful in selecting coagulant treatments that will improve phytoplankton removal and reduce treatment costs. The objectives of this study were to compare the efficacy of phytoplankton and turbidity removal when using TPP and turbidity as indicator parameters of appropriate coagulant treatments as well as to evaluate the cost impacts thereof. During seven different sampling occasions, source water samples with substantially different TPP and turbidity contents were collected from two South African freshwater sources (Benoni Lake and Vaal Dam) to conduct jar stirring tests. After sedimentation, TPP and turbidity analyses were performed to assess the efficacy of coagulant treatments (Ca(OH)2-SiO2, Ca(OH)2-organic polymer and organic polymer). Results showed that TPP analysis is indeed a useful indicator parameter to consider purifying source water enriched with phytoplankton. Ca(OH)2-organic polymer treatment was more costly than Ca(OH)2-SiO2 and organic polymer, but the only coagulant treatment that met the removal criteria after sedimentation. Benoni Lake source water (TPP: 34.29 μg/l; 4.29 NTU) was more costly to treat than Vaal Dam source water (TPP: 2.29 μg/l; 80.29 NTU). Findings made from this study confirm that high phytoplankton concentrations in source water due for treatment will increase the treatment costs. © 2015 IWA Publishing Journal of Water Supply: Research and Technology-AQUA. Source

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