The overall cost of wastewater solids management is highly dependent on the use of an effective conditioning polymer. However, it can be difficult to quantify or monitor the quality of these complex chemical products. This paper describes methods for polymer characterization and identification
that are suitable for use in analytical laboratories at relatively large treatment facilities. Physical-chemical tests include active polymer content, charge density, ionic regain, viscosity, and polymer “fingerprinting“ by Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectrometry. These
procedures were developed for the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority in order to quantify the characteristics of different polymer batches and assure that the polymer being delivered has the same characteristics as the product originally proffered. A procedures manual was developed
to be generally usable in any treatment facility with a well equipped lab. Equipment costs, presented in the paper, should be compensated by process savings at moderately large treatment plants.
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