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Enhanced Removal of Heavy Metals in Primary Treatment Using Coagulation and Flocculation

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The goal of this study was to determine the removal efficiencies of chromium, copper, lead, nickel, and zinc from raw wastewater by chemically enhanced primary treatment (CEPT) and to attain a total suspended solids removal goal of 80%. Operating parameters and chemical doses were optimized by bench-scale tests. Locally obtained raw wastewater samples were spiked with heavy metal solutions to obtain representative concentrations of metals in wastewater. Jar tests were conducted to compare the metals removal efficiencies of the chemical treatment options using ferric chloride, alum, and anionic polymer. The results obtained were compared with those from other studies. It was concluded that CEPT using ferric chloride and anionic polymer is more effective than CEPT using alum for metals removal. The CEPT dosing of 40 mg/L ferric chloride and 0.5 mg/L polymer enhanced heavy metals removal efficiencies by over 200% for chromium, copper, zinc, and nickel and 475% for lead, compared with traditional primary treatment. Efficient metals capture during CEPT can result in increased allowable headworks loadings or lower metal levels in the outfall.

Keywords: anionic polymer; coagulation; ferric chloride; flocculation; heavy metals; jar test; primary treatment; publicly owned treatment works

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2008

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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