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Effect of Bioflocculation on Ultraviolet Disinfection

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Presence of particles is known to decrease the effectiveness of ultraviolet (UV) disinfection by shielding the targeted microorganisms from UV rays. Majority of the previous studies have focused on the particles, and the effect of bioflocculation process and final floc characteristics have not been addressed in the literature. This study aims to provide a good understanding on the effect of particles, flocs and the flocculation process on UV disinfection by using a stable, well-defined and well-controlled synthetic system that can simulate the bioflocculation of particles in water and wastewater samples. The synthetic system was created by using latex particles, alginate, and divalent cations, and the flocculation of particles was achieved naturally without using coagulants. Latex particles can be purchased at selected particle sizes and surface characteristics which make them ideal for well-controlled UV inactivation tests. Three different sizes of latex particles were used in this study: 1, 10, and 45 microns. E. coli was spiked in water samples containing the desired particle counts, and the rate of flocculation was controlled by varying the alginate and calcium concentrations. The results indicate that bioflocculation process significantly impacts the UV disinfection, and particles and flocs have different effects on UV disinfection. In future studies, a distinction between particles and flocs should be made to better evaluate the effect of particle-microbe association on UV disinfection.

Keywords: UV disinfection; bioflocculation; extracellular polymers; flocs; particles

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2009

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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