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Electrical Conductivity Testing Applied to the Assessment of Freshly Collected Kielmeyera coriacea Mart. Seeds: MyronLMeters.com

Posted by 4 Jun, 2013

Tweet  MyronLMeters.com brings you the latest in conductivity measurement research like the article below.  Please click here for accurate, reliable, conductivity meters. Abstract Assessment of seed vigor has long been an important tool of seed quality control programs. The conductivity test is a promising method for assessment of seed vigor, but proper protocols for its […]


MyronLMeters.com brings you the latest in conductivity measurement research like the article below.  Please click here for accurate, reliable, conductivity meters.


Assessment of seed vigor has long been an important tool of seed quality control programs. The conductivity test is a promising method for assessment of seed vigor, but proper protocols for its execution have yet to be established. The objective of this study was to assess the efficiency of electrical conductivity (EC) testing as a means of assessing the viability of freshly collected Kielmeyera Coriacea Mart. seeds. The test was performed on individual seeds rather than in a bulk configuration. Seeds were soaked for different periods (30 min, 90 min, 120 min., 180 min, and 240 min) at a constant temperature of 25°C. Conductivity was then measured with a benchtop EC meter.

1. Introduction

Seeds are the primary factor of the seedling production process, despite their minor contribution to the end cost of each seedling. In order to estimate the success rate of seedling production, it is essential that seed characteristics such as vigor and germinability be known [1].

The importance of knowing the characteristics of Brazilian forest species to safer and more objective management of seedling production cannot be overstated. However, such studies are scarce, particularly in light of the vast number of species with this potential [2]. Given the intensity of anthropogenic pressure and the importance of rehabilitating disrupted or degraded environments, in-depth research of forest species is warranted.

Routine methods used for determination of seed quality and viability include germination testing and the tetrazolium test. Methods such as measurement of soak solution pH, electrical conductivity, and potassium content of leachate, all based on the permeability of the cell membrane system, are increasingly being employed in the assessment of seed vigor, as they are reliable and fast and can thus speed the decision making process.

Electrical conductivity testing, as applied to forest seeds, has yet to be standardized. Studies conducted thus far have focused on assessment of seed soaking times, which may range from 4 to 48 hours. Even at 48 hours, the conductivity test is considered a rapid technique as compared to the germination test, which, despite its status as a widespread and firmly established method, can take anywhere from 30 to 360 days to yield results (depending on species), and is limited by factors such as dormant seeds.

The total concentration of electrolytes leached by seeds during soaking has long been assessed indirectly, mostly through the conductivity test, which takes advantage of the fact that inorganic ions make up a substantial portion of these electrolytes [3–5].

Rapid assessment of seed quality allows for preemptive decision-making during harvest, processing, sale and storage operations, thus optimizing use of financial resources throughout these processes.

K. coriacea Mart. is a species of the Clusiaceae (Guttiferae) family popularly known in Brazil as pau-santo (Portuguese for “holy wood”), due to its properties as a medicinal and melliferous plant and as a source of cork. In traditional Brazilian medicine, the leaves are used as an emollient and antitumor agent, and the resin as a tonic and in the treatment of toothache and various infections. The fruits are used in regional crafts and flower arrangements. Even if the dye is of the leaves and bark. The trunk provides cork [6].

K. coriaceae specimens grow to approximately 4 meters in height. The flowering period extends from January to April and the fruiting period from May to September, and seed collection can take place from September onwards. Leaves are alternate, simple, oval to elliptical, coriaceous, and clustered at the end of the branches, and feature highly visible, pink midribs. A white to off-white latex is secreted in small amounts upon removal of leaves. Flowers are white to pale pink in color, large, fragrant, with many yellow stamens and are borne in short clusters near the apex of the branches. Seedling production requires that seeds be sown shortly after collection.

In the fruit are found 60 to 80 seeds with anemochoric. The seed varies from round to oblong, winged at the ends, light brown color, has integument thin and fragile, with smooth texture, the sizes range from 4.3 to 5.6 cm long, 1.3 to 1.9 cm wide, and 0.2 to 0.5 centimeter thick. The individual weight of the seeds ranges from. 112 to.128 grams. Nursery radicle emission occurred at 7 days and the germination rate was 90%. Germination occurs within 7 to 10 days. The species is slow growing, both in the field and in a nursery setting [7].

The present study sought to assess the applicability of the conductivity test to freshly collected K. coriacea Mart. seeds by determining the optimal soak time for performance of the test and comparing results obtained with this method against those obtained by tetrazolium and germination testing of seeds from the same batch.

2. Materials and Methods

2.1. Seed Collection

Seeds were collected in the cerrado sensu stricto, in SCA (Clean Water Farm), area of study at the University of Brasília (UNB) in August 2010, matrixes marked with the aid of GPS, after the period of physiological maturation of the seeds. The collection of fruits was directly from the tree, with the help of trimmer, then the seeds were processed and stored in paper bags at room temperature in the laboratory.

2.2. Conductivity Test

The development of tests to evaluate the physiological quality of seeds, as well as the standardization of these is essential for the establishment of an efficient quality control [8]. One of the main requirements for the seed vigor refers to obtain reliable results in a relatively short period of time, allowing the speed of decision making especially as regards the operations of collection, processing, and marketing [9]. The literature indicates that rapid tests are most studied early events related to the deterioration of the sequence proposed by Delouche and Baskin [10] as the degradation of cell membranes and reduced activity, and biosynthetic respiratory [9]. The measurement of electrical conductivity through the electrolyte amount released by soaking seeds in water has been applied by the individual method where each seed is a sample or more often, a sample of seed representative of a population (mass method). For this case, the results represent the average conductivity of a group of seeds, may a small amount of dead seeds affect the conductivity of a batch with many high-quality seed generating a read underestimated. To minimize this problem, we recommend choosing the seeds, excluding the damaged seeds.

The electrical conductivity is based on the principle that the deterioration process is the leaching of the cells of seeds soaked in water due to loss of integrity of cellular systems. Thus, low conductivity means a high-quality seed and high conductivity, that is, greater output seed leachate, suggests that less force [11].

The electrical conductivity is not yet widely used in Brazil, its use is restricted to activities related to research (Krzyzanowski et al., 1991). There are common jobs using this test to determine the physiological quality of tree seeds. However, it is a promising vigor test for possible standardization of the methodology, at least within a species. However, it is a promising vigor test for possible standardization of the methodology, at least within a species. However, there are factors which influence the conductivity values as the size, the initial water content, temperature and time of soaking, the number of seeds per sample, and genotype [12].

Five treatments were carried out to test the efficiency of the conductivity test as a means of evaluating the viability of freshly collected K. coriacea Mart. seeds.

Five runs of 20 seeds were tested for each treatment. Seeds were individually placed into containers holding 50 mL of distilled water and left to soak for 30, 90, 120, 180, and 240 minutes in a germination chamber set to a constant temperature of 25°C. The minimum time taken for the soaking of 30 minutes was adopted by the same authors and Amaral and peske [13], Fernandes et al. [14], and Matos [1] who concluded that the period of 30 minutes of soaking is more effective to estimate the germination of the seeds. After each period, the conductivity of the soak solution was immediately tested with a benchtop EC meter precise to +/−1% (Quimis). Readings were expressed as μS·cm−1/g−1 seed [15].

Data thus obtained were subjected to analysis of variance with partitioning into orthogonal polynomials for analysis of the effect of soaking times on electrical conductivity.

2.3. Tetrazolium Test

The tetrazolium test, also known as biochemical test for vitality, is a technique used to estimate the viability and seed germination. A fundamental condition for ensuring the efficiency of the test is the direct contact of the tetrazolium solution with the tissues of the seed to be tested. Due to the impermeability of the coats of most forest tree seeds, it is necessary to adopt a previous preparation of the seeds that were tested. This preparation is based on facilitating entry of the solution in the seed. Among the preparations that precede the test we have cutting the seed coat, seed coat removal, scarification by sandpaper scarification by soaking in hot water and water [16]. In the previous preparation of the seeds, factors such as concentration of the solution or even the time of the staining solution can affect the efficiency of the test in the evaluation of seed quality. The time required for the development of appropriate color according to the Rules for Seed Analysis [16] varies depending on each species, can be between 30 and 240 minutes.

The tetrazolium test has been widely used in seeds of various species due to the speed and efficiency in the characterization of the viability and vigor, and the possibility of damage to the same distinction, assisting in the process of quality control from the steps of harvest storage (GRIS et al, 2007).

The tetrazolium test was also applied to freshly collected K. coriacea Mart. seeds, for a total of three runs and 20 seeds. Seeds were soaked in a 0.5% solution of 2,3,5-triphenyl-2H-tetrazolium for 24 hours in a germination chamber set to a constant temperature of 25°C. After each run, seeds were washed, bisected, and the half-containing the embryonic axis placed under a stereo viewer for examination of staining patterns [17].

2.4. Germination Test

The standard germination test is the official procedure to evaluate the ability of seeds to produce normal seedlings under favorable conditions in the field, but does not always reveal differences in quality and performance among seed lots, which can manifest in storage or in the field [18].

During the germination test optimum conditions are provided and controlled for seeds to encourage the resumption of metabolic activity which will result in the seedlings. The main objective of the germination test is the information about the quality of seeds, which is used in the identification of lots for storage and sowing [19].

Freshly collected K. coriacea Mart. seeds were placed in a germination chamber at a constant temperature of 25°C (Treatment 1) or an alternating temperature of 20–30°C (Treatment 2), on a standard cycle of 8 hours of light and 16 hours of dark. Each test consisted of five runs and was performed on 20 seeds.

Germination was defined as emergence of at least 2.0 mm of the primary root [20]. Assessment was conducted daily, and emergence was observed between day 6 and day 7. At the end of the 14-day test period, the germination percentage was calculated on the basis of radicle emergence [21].


3. Results

3.1. Conductivity Test

Different soaking times were not associated with any significant differences in conductivity results in K. coriacea Mart. seeds (Table 1).

Table 1: Conductivity ranges of freshly collected Kielmeyera coriacea Mart. seeds after soaking for different periods.
Seeds with a leachate conductivity range of 7–17.99 μS·cm·g were considered nonviable, confirming the hypothesis behind conductivity testing, which is the nonviable seeds that have higher soaking solution conductivity values (Table 2).

Table 2: Percentage of viable Kielmeyera coriacea Mart. seeds according to EC range.
Analysis of variance revealed a low coefficient of variation (20.26%), which suggests good experimental control (Table 3).

Table 3: Analysis of variance of various soaking times for electrical conductivity testing of Kielmeyera coriacea Mart. seeds.
After analysis of variance, the correlation between the soaking time and electrical conductivity variables was assessed. The cubic model yielded


which is indicative of a positive correlation between the study variables.

The following equation was obtained on the basis of the cubic model:



Analysis of a plot of the above function in the GeoGebra 2007 software package shows that variation in electrical conductivity as a function of soaking time is minor and approaches a constant, which is consistent with the study results, in which changes in soaking time had no influence on conductivity (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Leachate conductivity as a function of soaking time in Kielmeyera coriaceaMart. seeds.

Matos [1] reported that a 30-minute soak was enough for assessment of Anadenanthera falcata, Copaifera langsdorffii, and Enterolobium contortisiliquum seeds by the soaking solution pH method—that is, the amount of matter leached after this period sufficed for measurement.

Although the principle of conductivity is the same used for the test pH of exudate, the soaking time needed to analyze the differential seeds through the conductivity may be explained by the fact that this technique is quantitative, while pH in the art exudate analyzes are qualitative. In other words to the technique of pH values of the exudate it is important to detect the acidity of imbibition while on the electrical conductivity we draw a comparison between the analyzed values to separate viable from nonviable samples. To determine a value of electrical conductivity as a reference to determine viable seeds are to be considered the values obtained for fresh seeds and seeds stored.

The thickness of the K. coriacea Mart. seed coat may also have affected the soaking procedure; this species has very thin seed coats, which makes soaking a very fast process.

These results are consistent with those reported by Rodrigues [22], who subjected stored K. coriaceaMart. seeds to the conductivity test and found that 90 minutes is an appropriate soaking time for analysis.

Therefore, it can be inferred that for seed Kielmeyera coriacea Mart. the soaking time of 90 minutes can be applied to obtain satisfactory results.

3.2. Tetrazolium Test

Table 4 shows the results of tetrazolium testing of K. coriacea Mart. seeds in our sample. The mean viability rate was 96.6%. The testing procedure was based on Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture recommendations [17].

Table 4: Tetrazolium testing of Kielmeyera coriacea Mart. seeds.

The results of the tetrazolium test were quite similar to those obtained with the conductivity method, thus confirming the efficiency of the latter method as a means for assessing the viability of K. coriaceaMart. seeds.

3.3. Germination Test

The germination test results of freshly collected K. coriacea Mart. seeds are shown in Table 5. Regardless of temperature, both test batches exhibited good viability, and no seed dormancy was detected.

Table 5: Germination test results of Kielmeyera coriacea Mart. seeds.

Radicle emergence was observed between day 7 and day 9 of the test, according to the analysis criteria proposed by Labouriau [21].

These findings are consistent with those of Melo et al., [23] who reported high and relatively rapid germination rates for K. coriacea seeds kept at 25°C on paper towels, with emergence of a perfect radicle on the 7th day of assessment.

4. Conclusions

The electrical conductivity can be used as an indicator of seed viability and presents two advantages: to provide rapid and reliable results and the technique is not destructive and can use the seeds after the conductivity test, so they can be used to produce seedlings.

The present study showed that different soaking times had no effect on the results of conductivity testing of freshly collected K. coriacea Mart. seeds, suggesting that the amount of leached matter was never below the threshold required for adequate testing.

Electrical conductivity testing proved to be a feasible option for viability testing of K. coriacea Mart. seeds, as the results obtained with conductivity testing were confirmed by germination testing and by the tetrazolium test.


  1. J. M. M. Matos, Evaluation of pH test on exudate check feasibility of forest seeds, dissertation, University of Brasília, Brasília, Brazil, 2009.
  2. F. Poggiani, S. Bruni, and E. S. Q. Barbos, “Effect of shading on seedling growth of three species forest,” in National conference on native plants, vol. 2, pp. 564–569, Institute of Forestry, 1992.
  3. M. B. Mcdonald Jr. and D. O. Wilson, “ASA-610 ability to detect changes in soybean seed quality,” Journal of Seed Technology, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 56–66, 1980.
  4. S. Matthews and A. Powell, “A eletrical conductivity test,” in Handbook of Vigor Test Methods, D. A. Perry, Ed., pp. 37–42, International Seed Testing Associaty, Zurich, Switzerland, 1981.
  5. J. Son Mark, W. R. Singh, A. D. C. Novembre, and H. M. C. P. Chamma, “Comparative studies to evaluate dem’etodos physiological quality of soybean seeds, with emphasis the electrical conductivity test,” Brazilian Journal of Agricultural Research, vol. 25, no. 12, pp. 1805–1815, 1990.
  6. S. R. Singh, A. P. Silva, C. B. Munhoz, et al., Guide of Cerrado Plants Used in the Chapada Veadeiros, WWF-Brazil, Brasilia, Brazil, 2001.
  7. J. M. Felfili, C. W. Fagg, J. C. S. Silva, et al., Plants of the APA Gama Cabeça de Veado: Species, ecosystems and recovery, University of Brasilia, Brasília, Department of Engineering Forest, Brasília, Brazil, 2002.
  8. M. F. B. Muniz, et al., “Comparison of methods for evaluating the physiological and health quality of melon seeds,” Journal of Seeds, Pellets, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 144–149, 2004.
  9. D. C. F. S. Dias and J. Marcos Filho, “Electrical conductivity to assess seed vigor of soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merrill),” Scientia Agricola, vol. 53, no. 1, Article ID article id, pp. 31–42, 1996.View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar
  10. J. C. Delouche and C. C. Baskin, “Acelerated aging techniques for predicting the relative storability of seed lots,” Seed Science and Technology, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 427–452, 1973.
  11. R. D. Vieira and F. C. Krzyzanowski, “Electrical conductivity test,” in Seed Vigor: Concepts and Tests, F. C. Krzyzanowski, R. D. Vieira, and J. B. França Neto, Eds., pp. 4.1–4.26, Abrates, London, UK, 1999.
  12. R. D. Vieira, “Electrical conductivity test,” in Seed Vigor Tests, R. D. Vieira and N. M. Carvalho, Eds., p. 103, FUNEP, Jaboticabal, Brazil, 1994.
  13. A. S. Amaral and S. T. Peske, “Exudate pH to estimate, in 30 minutes seed viability of soybeans,”Journal of seeds, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 85–92, 1984.
  14. E. J. Fernandes, R. Sader, and N. M. Carvalho, “seed viability beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) estimated by the pH of the exudate,” in Congress Brazil’s Seeds, Gramado, Brazil, 1987.
  15. F. C. Krzyzanowski and R. D. Vieira, “Electrical conductivity test,” in Seed Vigor: Concepts and Tests, F. C. Krzyzanowski, R. D. Vieira, and J. B. France Neto, Eds., pp. 4.1–4.26, Abrates, London, UK, 1999.
  16. Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, Rule for seed testing, SNPA/DNPV/CLAV, Brasilia, Brazil, 1992.
  17. Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, Rule for seed testing, SNPA/DNPV/CLAV, Brasilia, Brazil, 2009.
  18. N. M. Carvalho and J. Nakagawa, Seeds: Science, Technology and Production, FUNEP, Jaboticabal, Brazil, 2000.
  19. Pina-Rodrigues, et al., “Quality test,” in Germination from Basic to Applied, A. Ferreira and G. F. Borghetti, Eds., pp. 283–297, 2004.
  20. A. G. Ferreira and F. Borghetti, from basic to Germination applied, Artmed, Porto Alegre, Brazil, 2004.
  21. L. G. Labouriau, seed germination, OAS, Washington, DC, USA, 1983.
  22. L. L. Rodrigues, Study of imbibition time for application the method of electrical conductivity in the verification of the feasibility forest seeds stored, monograph, University of Brasília, Brasília, Brazil, 2010.
  23. J. T. Melo, J. F. Ribeiro, and V. L. G. F. Lima, “Germination of Seeds of some tree species native to the Cerrado,” Journal of Seeds, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 8–12, 1979.

Research article by: Kennya Mara Oliveira Ramos,1 Juliana M. M. Matos,1 Rosana C. C. Martins,1 and Ildeu S. Martins2

1Seed Technology Laboratory of Forestry, Department of Forestry, University of Brasilia, CP 04357, 70919970 Campus Asa Norte, DF, Brazil
2Department of Forestry, University of Brasilia, CP 04357, 70919970 Campus Asa Norte, DF, Brazil

Received 17 December 2011; Accepted 14 February 2012

Academic Editors: A. Berville, C. Gisbert, J. Hatfield, and Y. Ito

Copyright © 2012 Kennya Mara Oliveira Ramos et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Categories : Case Studies & Application Stories, Science and Industry Updates

Water Quality Testing in RO Systems – MyronLMeters.com

Posted by 10 May, 2013

Tweet Water quality testing is vital to the design of an efficient, cost-effective RO system, and is one of the best ways to preserve system life and performance. Using an accurate Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) measurement to assess the system load prevents costly mistakes up front. The TDS measurement gives users the information they need […]


Water quality testing is vital to the design of an efficient, cost-effective RO system, and is one of the best ways to preserve system life and performance.

Using an accurate Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) measurement to assess the system load prevents costly mistakes up front. The TDS measurement gives users the information they need to determine whether or not pretreatment is required and the type of membrane/s to select. Ultrameter™ and ULTRAPEN PT1™ Series TDS instruments feature the unique ability to select from 3 industry standard solution models: 442 Natural Water™ NaCl; and KCl. Choosing the model that most closely matches the characteristics of source water yields measurements accurate enough to check and calibrate TDS monitor/controllers that can help alert to system failures, reducing downtime and increasing productivity. The same instruments provide a fast and accurate test for permeate TDS quality control. Measuring concentrate values and analyzing quality trends lets users accurately determine membrane usage according to the manufacturer’s specifications so they can budget consumption correctly. These daily measurements are invaluable in detecting problems with system performance where changes in the ionic concentration of post-filtration streams can indicate scaling or fouling. System maintenance is generally indicated if there is either a 10-15% drop in performance or permeate quality as measured by TDS.

Thin-film composite membranes degrade when exposed to chlorine. In systems where chlorine is used for microbiological control, the chlorine is usually removed by carbon adsorption or sodium bisulfite addition before membrane filtration. The presence of any chlorine in such systems will at best reduce the life of the membrane, thus, a target of 0 ppm free chlorine in the feedwater is desirable.

ORP gives the operator the total picture of all chemicals in solution that have oxidizing or reducing potential including chlorine, bromine, chloramines, chlorine dioxide, peracetic acid, iodine, ozone, etc. However, ORP can be used to monitor and control free chlorine in systems where chlorine is the only sanitizer used. ORP over +300 mV is generally considered undesirable for membranes. Check manufacturer’s specifications for tolerable ORP levels.

An inline ORP monitor/controller placed ahead of the RO unit to automatically monitor for trends and breakthroughs coupled with spot checks by a portable instrument will prevent equipment damage and failure. Myron L 720 Series II™ ORP monitor/controllers can be configured with bleed and feed switches as well as visible and audible alarms.

Ultrameter and ULTRAPEN portable handhelds are designed for fast field testing and are accurate enough to calibrate monitor/controllers. Our measurement methods are objective and have superior accuracy and convenience when compared to colorimetric methods where determination of equivalence points is subjective and can be skewed by colored or turbid solutions.

Monitoring pH of the source water will allow users to make adjustments that optimize the performance of antiscalants, corrosion inhibitors and anti-foulants. Using a 720 II Series Monitor/controller to maintain pH along with an Ultrameter Series or ULTRAPEN PT2™ handheld to spot check pH values will reduce consumption of costly chemicals and ensure their efficacy.

Most antiscalants used in chemical system maintenance specify a Langelier Saturation Index maximum value. Some chemical manufacturers and control systems develop their own proprietary methods for determining a saturation index based on solubility constants in a defined system. However, LSI is still used as the predominant scaling indicator because calcium carbonate is present in most water. Using a portable Ultrameter III 9PTKA™ provides a simple method for determining LSI to ensure the chemical matches the application.

The Ultrameter III 9PTKA computes LSI from independent titrations of alkalinity and hardness along with electrometric measurements of pH and temperature. Using the 9PTKA LSI calculator, alterations to the water chemistry can be determined to achieve the desired LSI. Usually, pH is the most practical adjustment. If above 7, acid additions are made to achieve the pH value in the target LSI. Injections are made well ahead of the RO unit to ensure proper mixing and avoid pH hotspots. A Myron L 720 Series II pH Monitor/controller will automatically detect and divert solution with pH outside the range of tolerance for the RO unit. ULTRAPEN PT2, TechPro II and Ultrameter Series instruments can be used to spot check and calibrate the monitor/controller as part of routine maintenance and to ensure uniform mixing.

Water hardness values indicate whether or not ion exchange beds are required in pretreatment. Checking hardness values directly after the softening process with the Ultrameter III 9PTKA ensures proper functioning and anticipates the regeneration schedule.

Alkalinity is not only important in its effect on the scaling tendency of solution, but on pH maintenance. Additions of lime are used to buffer pH during acid injection. Use a 9PTKA to measure alkalinity values for fast field analysis where other instrumentation is too cumbersome to be practical.

Though testing and monitoring pressure is a good way to evaluate system requirements and performance over time, measuring other water quality parameters can help pinpoint problems when troubleshooting. For example, if the pressure differential increases over the second stage, the most likely cause is scaling by insoluble salts. This means that any degradation in performance is likely due to the dissolved solids in the feed. Using a 9PTKA to evaluate LSI and calculate parameter adjustments is a simple way to troubleshoot a costly problem.

Myron L Meters saves you 10% on all Ultrameters and Ultrapens when you order online at MyronLMeters.com, where you can find the complete selection of Myron L meters, including the Ultrameter III 9PTKA.

Original story from International Filtration News V 32, no. 2


Categories : Application Advice, Case Studies & Application Stories, Technical Tips

Pool Draining Tips to Protect Water Quality – MyronLMeters.com

Posted by 1 May, 2013

TweetMyronLMeters.com has the most advanced lineup of pool analysis meters for the professional pool maintenance technician from the Ultrapen to the PoolPro PS9. Pool Draining Tips to Protect Water Quality With summer right around the corner, many swimming pool owners will be readying their swimming pools in anticipation of the season’s heat. As part of […]

MyronLMeters.com has the most advanced lineup of pool analysis meters for the professional pool maintenance technician from the Ultrapen to the PoolPro PS9.

Pool Draining Tips to Protect Water Quality

With summer right around the corner, many swimming pool owners will be readying their swimming pools in anticipation of the season’s heat. As part of this process, some pool owners like to drain old swimming pool water which has been sitting all winter. Though not a necessary task, the following tips are provided for you to properly drain pool water in order to protect the water resources in your community.

Whenever possible, it is best to drain your pool onto your landscape. This recycles your pool water, conserves irrigation water, and avoids the environmental risks associated with draining your pool to the street. Before draining your pool water to the street or to your landscape, be sure to follow the guidelines outlined below.

While draining pool water to the street is a common practice, it can prove harmful to the environment if the pool owner does not properly plan and prepare prior to draining. When pool water is drained to the street, it can carry other pollutants such as oil, grease, sediment, bacteria and trash down the storm drain and into the nearest creek, river, or the ocean. Swimming pool water also often contains harmful additives and chemicals. If the water is not properly treated to remove these pollutants prior to draining, they can cause further damage to the health of our waterways and to the plants and animals that live there.

Also, prior to draining to the street, residents are asked to sweep the curb and gutter between the discharge point from their yard to the storm drain down hill from their home. This will remove any pollutants from the gutter that may be carried up by the drained pool water to the storm drain.

For chlorine pools, chlorine levels must be lowered to less than 1 part per million prior to draining. This can be done naturally, by simply allowing the pool water to sit in the sun for a minimum of three days. Alternatively, de-chlorination kits can be purchased at home supply stores at a very reasonable cost. These kits have the tools you need to reach the appropriate chlorine levels before draining your pool to the curb and gutter.

Some people have salt water pool systems which may be preferred due to the lower amount of chemicals required for their operation. However, these pools must not be drained to the storm drain system due to their high salt content relative to the fresh water systems they drain into. Total dissolved solids (TDS) must be below 500 parts per million in order to drain into the street.

Green pools,” which are pools in which algae is growing, also must not be drained to the street. In these instances, algae must first be killed and removed. This is usually done by chlorinating the swimming pool until the algae is gone, then lowering chlorine to the allowable discharge level. Cartridge filters or diatomaceous earth (DE) filters should be rinsed onto a pervious surface such as landscaped areas or grass. While DE is actually beneficial in your garden, it can build up in storm drains and clog them. DE residues can be scooped up and simply thrown in the trash or put to use fending off worms in your garden.

For more information on how to reach acceptable chemical and TDS levels, call your pool maintenance specialist.

If you are a pool maintenance specialist, consider the PoolPro PS9TKA from MyronLMeters.com – the most advanced and comprehensive pool water analysis meter on the market.

PS9TK from MyronLMeters.com










Pool Pro PS9TK

Measures 9 Parameters: Conductivity, Mineral/Salts, TDS, Alkalinity, Hardness, LSI, pH, ORP/Free Chlorine, Temperature
LSI Calculator for hypothetical water balance calculations
Wireless data transfer capability with bluDock option
Auto-ranging delivers increased resolution across diverse applications
Adjustable Temperature Compensation and Cond/TDS conversion ratios for user-defined solutions
Nonvolatile memory of up to 100 readings for stored data protection
Date & time stamp makes record-keeping easy
pH calibration prompts alert you when maintenance is required
Auto-off minimizes energy consumption
Low battery indicator
(Includes instrument with case and solutions)

Categories : Case Studies & Application Stories

Screening and evaluation of innate coagulants for water treatment: a sustainable approach – MyronLMeters.com

Posted by 21 Mar, 2013

TweetAbstract Access to safe drinking water is important as a health and development issue at national, regional, and local levels. About one billion people do not have healthy drinking water. More than six million people (about two million children) die because of diarrhea which is caused by polluted water. Developing countries pay a high cost […]


Access to safe drinking water is important as a health and development issue at national, regional, and local levels. About one billion people do not have healthy drinking water. More than six million people (about two million children) die because of diarrhea which is caused by polluted water. Developing countries pay a high cost to import chemicals including polyaluminium chloride and alum. This is the reason why these countries need low-cost methods requiring low maintenance and skill. The use of synthetic coagulants is not regarded as suitable due to health and economic considerations. The present study was aimed to investigate the effects of alum as coagulant in conjunction with bean, sago, and chitin as coagulants on the removal of color, turbidity, hardness, and Escherichia coli from water. A conventional jar test apparatus was employed for the tests. The study was taken up in three stages, initially with synthetic waters, followed by testing of the efficiency of coagulants individually on surface waters and, lastly, testing of blended coagulants. The experiment was conducted at three different pH conditions of 6, 7, and 8. The dosages chosen were 0.5, 1, 1.5, and 2 mg/l. The results showed that turbidity decrease provided also a primary E. coli reduction. Hardness removal efficiency was observed to be 93% at pH 7 with 1-mg/l concentration by alum, whereas chitin was stable at all the pH ranges showing the highest removal at 1 and 1.5mg/l with pH 7. In conclusion, using natural coagulants results in considerable savings in chemicals and sludge handling cost may be achieved.


Alum; Chitin; Sago; Bean; Coagulation; Turbidity


The explosive growth of the world’s human population and subsequent water and energy demands have led to an expansion of standing surface water [1]. Nowadays, the concern about contamination of aquatic environments has increased, especially when water is used for human consumption. About one billion people do not have healthy drinking water. More than six million people (about two million children) die because of diarrhea which is caused by polluted water[2,3].

In most of the cases, surface water turbidity is caused by the clay particles, and the color is due to the decayed natural organic matter. Generally, the particles that determine the turbidity are not separated by settling or through traditional filtration. Colloidal suspension stability in surface water is also due to the electric charge of particle surface. Thus, there is great importance in either the development of more sophisticated treatments or the improvement of the current ones [4].

The production of potable water from most raw water sources usually entails the use of a coagulation flocculation stage to remove turbidity in the form of suspended and colloidal material. This process plays a major role in surface water treatment by reducing turbidity, bacteria, algae, color, organic compounds, and clay particles. The presence of suspended particles would clog filters or impair disinfection process, thereby dramatically minimizing the risk of waterborne diseases [5,6].

Many coagulants are widely used in conventional water treatment processes, based on their chemical characteristics. These coagulants are classified into inorganic, synthetic organic polymers, and natural coagulants [4]. Alum has been the most widely used coagulant because of its proven performance, cost effectiveness, relatively easy handling, and availability. Recently, much attention has been drawn on the extensive use of alum. Aluminum is regarded as an important poisoning factor in dialysis encephalopathy. Aluminum is one of the factors which might contribute to Alzheimer’s disease [7-9]. Alum reaction with water alkalinity reduces water pH and its efficiency in cold water [10,11]. However, some synthetic organic polymers such as acrylamide have neurotoxicity and strong carcinogenic effect [8,12].

In addition, the use of alum salts is inappropriate in some developing countries because of the high costs of imported chemicals and low availability of chemical coagulants [3]. This is the reason why these countries need low-cost methods requiring low maintenance and skill.

For these reasons, and also due to other advantages of natural coagulants/flocculants over chemicals, some countries such as Japan, China, India, and the United States have adopted the use of natural polymers in the treatment of surface water for the production of drinking water [13]. A number of studies have pointed out that the introduction of natural coagulants as a substitute for metal salts may ease the problems associated with chemical coagulants.

Natural macromolecular coagulants are promising and have attracted the attention of many researchers because of their abundant source, low price, multi-purposeness, and biodegradation[11,14,15]. Okra, rice, and chitosan are natural compounds which have been used in turbidity removal [16-18]. The extract of the seeds has been mentioned for drastically reducing the amount of sludge and bacteria in sewage [19].

In view of the above discussion, the present work has been taken up to evaluate the efficiency of various natural coagulants on the physico-chemical contaminant removal of water. To date, most of the research has been concentrated on the coagulant efficiencies in synthetic water, but in this study, we move ahead making an attempt to test the efficiency of the natural coagulants on surface water. The efficiencies of the coagulants as stated by [20] might alter depending on many factors: nature of organic matter, structure, dimension, functional groups, chemical species, and others.


Natural coagulants and their preparation

Sago is a product prepared from the milk of tapioca root. Its botanical name is ‘Manihot esculentaCrantz syn. M. utilissima’. Hyacinth bean with botanical name Dolichos lablab is chosen as another coagulant. Both the coagulants were used in the form of powders (starches). Starch consists mainly of a homopolymer of α-D-glucopyranosyl units that comes in two molecular forms, linear and branched. The former is referred to as amylose and the latter as amylopectin [21]. These have the general structure as per [22] (Figure  1) .

thumbnailFigure 1. General structure of amylose and amylopectin.

The third coagulant was chitin ([C8H13O5N]n), which is a non-toxic, biodegradable polymer of high molecular weight. Like cellulose, chitin is a fiber, and in addition, it presents exceptional chemical and biological qualities that can be used in many industrial and medical applications. The two plant originated coagulants were taken in the form of powder or starch. Chitin was commercially procured.

Stage I

The first stage included testing the efficiency of the four coagulants on the synthetic waters. Synthetic waters with turbidity of 70 and 100 nephelometric turbidity units (NTU) were prepared with fuller’s earth in the laboratory and were used in this part of the study. The experiment was carried out using a jar test apparatus. The experiments were conducted in duplicates to eliminate any kind of error. Efficiency was evaluated by determination of reduction in turbidity of both the synthetic samples.

Stage II

In the second stage of the experiment, the individual coagulants were evaluated for their efficiency on the surface waters. The water samples for this stage and the preceding stage were collected from the surface reservoir, Mudasarlova, located at a distance of 5 km from the Environmental Monitoring Laboratory, GITAM University, where the experiments were carried out. This is the reservoir which serves as a source of domestic water for the nearby residents.

Care was taken while collecting the samples so that a representative sample is obtained. All samples were collected in sterile plastic containers. The samples were transported to the laboratory, and all the experiments were conducted within a duration of 24 h. The physical parameters like temperature and color were noted at the point of sample collection. The water samples were analyzed for the following parameters pre- and post-treatment with the coagulants (Table  1).

Table 1. Physico-chemical parameters tested (stage II)

The coagulants were tested at various concentrations like 0.5, 1, 1.5, and 2 mg/l at three pH ranges of 6, 7, and 8.

Stage III

The results obtained from the second stage of the study have encouraged us to further extend the study in terms of blended coagulants. The blending of coagulants was taken up from the fact that alum was the most widely used coagulant, and hence, it was taken as one part. The remaining combinations were 2, 3, 4, and 5 parts of the natural coagulants, i.e., 1:2, 1:3, 1:4, and 1:5.

Testing of the following parameters was adopted for evaluating the efficiency of the blended coagulants (pre- and post-coagulation) (Table  2). All the analysis has been performed as per the standard methods given by APHA, 2005 [23].

Table 2. Physico-chemical parameters tested (stage III)

E. coli presence

The E. coli bacterial presence and absence were determined in the pre- and post-coagulated water using H2S strip bottle. The water sample was filled into the bottle and allowed to stand for 24 h at room temperature. After 24 h, the water sample was observed for color change; black color change indicates the presence of E. coli.


Coagulant actions onto colloidal particles take place through charge neutralization of negatively charged particles. If charge neutralization is the predominant mechanism, a stochiometric relation can be established between the particles’ concentration and coagulant optimal dose.

In the initial stage of the experiment, the coagulants were tested against synthetic turbid samples with 70 and 100 NTU. According to Figure  2a,b, the optimum dosage of alum was observed to be 1mg/l for both the turbid samples, and the optimum pH is observed to be 7.

thumbnailFigure 2. Turbidity removal efficiency of alum with initial turbidities of (a) 100 and (b) 70 NTU.

It is understood from Figure  3a,b that the optimum dosage for chitin as coagulant is 1.5 mg/l (turbidity to 40 NTU) for 100 NTU, whereas not much difference was observed between pH 7 and 8 for both the turbid samples. The optimum pH is observed to be 7 for both 70 and 100 NTU samples.

thumbnailFigure 3. Turbidity removal efficiency of chitin with initial turbidities of (a) 100 and (b) 70 NTU.

Figure  4a,b exemplifies the trends of sago on the turbidity removal of the synthetic solutions. It is observed that sago was effective at both 1 and 1.5 mg/l (turbidity reduced to 50 and 45 NTU, respectively) for 100 NTU solution, and the efficiency was stable at pH 7 and 8.

thumbnailFigure 4. Turbidity removal efficiency of sago with initial turbidities of (a) 100 and (b) 70 NTU.

Figure  5a,b illustrates the effect of bean on the synthetic turbid samples and turbidity removal. It is observed that bean was effective at 1mg/l (turbidity reduced to 55 NTU) for 100 NTU solution, and the efficiency was stable at pH 7 and 8.

thumbnailFigure 5. Turbidity removal efficiency of bean with initial turbidities of (a) 100 and (b) 70 NTU.

Implications from the stage 1 experiment articulate that the coagulants are quite stable at the pH ranges tested; hence, in the proceeding experiments, all the three pH ranges were considered. In the second stage of experiment, the environmental samples from the surface water source were collected and tested for the removal of turbidity and other chemical parameters. The dosages were the same as the previous stage. The results are graphically represented as shown in Figures  67,89.

thumbnailFigure 6. Turbidity removal efficiency of individual coagulants.

thumbnailFigure 7. Total hardness removal efficiency of individual coagulants.

thumbnailFigure 8. Calcium hardness removal efficiency of individual coagulants.

thumbnailFigure 9. Chloride removal efficiency of coagulants.

The turbidity removal efficiencies of the individual coagulants are depicted in Figure  6 wherein there was a broad variation among the pH ranges. The maximum reduction was observed with 1 mg/l (87%) of bean at pH 6 followed by 1 mg/l (82%) sago at the same pH. At pH 7, the maximum efficiency was shown by bean with 1.5 mg/l dosage (85.37%) followed by bean and sago with 1 (82.49%) and 1.5 mg/l (82.49%), respectively. Removal efficiencies of 41.46% and 36.59% were reported by 1 mg/l of bean and sago, respectively, at pH 8. The minimum reductions are not reported as there was a negative competence of the coagulants at different doses and pH variations. It can be observed from the graph that there was an increase in the turbidity of the water at these dosages like with 2 g of chitin the turbidity removal was −19.51. In the entire study, the best results were obtained with total hardness removal wherein no negative competence was reported as shown in Figure  7. The utmost removal was observed with 0.5-mg/l (97.67%) sago at pH 7. At pH 6, it was (90.70%) with 1.5 mg/l of bean. At pH 8, the reduction was (93.02%) with 0.5 mg/l of alum. Apart from these, the general observation was that all the coagulants were effective in an average removal of 65% total hardness at all pH variations and doses. The tracking for the least efficiency has showed chitin at pH 6 with 2-mg/l dose (34.88%).

The calcium hardness removal efficiencies are directly proportional with the total hardness removal; the highest removal was recorded by chitin (93.33%) at pH 7 with 1.5-mg/l dose as shown in Figure  8. Removal of 90% is at pH 8 and 7 with 0.5-mg/l alum and 1-mg/l chitin, respectively. Minimum effectiveness was observed by chitin (6.67%) at pH 6 with 2-mg/l dose. On an average, the removal competence was more than 60% with all coagulants at doses at all the pH conditions.

Figure  8 illustrates the chloride removal efficiency of the coagulants tested. The average competence was observed to be 40%. The maximum competence was noted at pH 7 by chitin (83.64%) at 1.5 mg/l followed by sago (81.82%) at 1 mg/l. Indeed at pH 7, the removal was observed to be superior as a whole. Similarly, pH has shown inferior effectiveness in the amputation of chloride. The remarkable point that was noted is that at pH 8, where the removal was superior, the increase in doses of sago and bean (1.5 and 2 mg/l) has shown a depressing outcome.

With the results obtained from the second stage experimentation, the study was carried forward for the evaluation of blended coagulants. From the literature, it was understood that blended coagulants show improved competence than that of the individual ones.

The regular test of turbidity was substituted with conductivity to establish a relation and test the difference with these parameters. The conductivity diminution was observed to be preeminent at the ratio of 1:2 of all the blended coagulants 26.12%, 26.00%, and 21.35% with alum/bean, alum/chitin, and alum/sago, respectively. The highest reduction was observed with alum/sago at pH 8 with 1:2 ratio (32.28%) (Figure  10).

thumbnailFigure 10. Conductivity removal efficiency of blended coagulants.

The total hardness reduction trend of the blended coagulants was recorded as follows: at pH 7, all combinations of alum/bean have resulted in negative competence. Amputation of 100% was observed with alum/chitin and alum/sago at 1:2 and 1:4 and 1:5 doses, respectively (Figure  11). The overall competence of the alum/chitin and alum/sago were registered to be more than 80%. The calcium hardness efficiencies of the blended coagulants were similar to that of the total hardness. The highest removal efficiency was shown by alum/chitin with 1:5 ratio at pH 7 (Figure 12).

thumbnailFigure 11. Total hardness removal efficiency of blended coagulants.

thumbnailFigure 12. Calcium hardness removal efficiency of blended coagulants.

As said earlier, the turbidity was replaced by color determination taking into account the fact that turbidity is directly related to the color. pH 7 has been remarkably effective in the highest removal of color from the water. The blended coagulant alum/sago was found to be very effective with 98% to 100% reduction in color at all the ratios of dosage (Figure  13). The blended coagulants alum/chitin and alum/sago were relatively successful at an average rate of 80% decline in the color at almost all ratios of dosage at pH 7 and 8.

thumbnailFigure 13. Color removal efficiency of blended coagulants.

Alum/sago blend has a noteworthy effect on the removal of chloride from the water samples in which no negative result was noted. The highest reduction was observed with alum/chitin with dose of 1:5 (85.71%) at pH 7. Indeed, pH 7 can be optimized as perfect pH for this blend as all the ratios of dosages were quite efficient in the removal of chloride (Figure  14).

thumbnailFigure 14. Chloride removal efficiency of blended coagulants.


Although many studies have used synthetic water in the experiments, this work chose to use raw water collected directly from the surface source. Therefore, it is important to consider that the natural compounds may cause variations in their composition, which interfere in the treatment process. All those factors are taken into account when evaluating the obtained results.

The characteristics of the superficial water used in this study are observed as that the water used has apparent color, turbidity, solids, and amount of compounds with a relatively high absorption in UV (254 nm). It is noticeable that the water has high turbidity and color.

The effectiveness of alum, commonly used as a coagulant, is severely affected by low or high pH. In optimum conditions, the white flocs were large and rigid and settled well in less than 10 min. This finding is in agreement with other studies at optimum pH [24,25]. The optimum pH was 7 and was similar to the obtained results by Divakaran [26]. At high turbidity, a significant improvement in residual water turbidity was observed. The supernatant was clear after about 20-min settling. Flocs were larger and settling time was lower. The results showed that above optimum dosage, the suspensions showed a tendency to restabilize.

The effectiveness of the chitin in the present study in the removal of various contaminants with varied pH individually and also in blended form can be traced to the explanation from the literature that chitin has been studied as biosorbent to a lesser extent than chitosan; however, the natural greater resistance of the former compared to the last, due to its greater crystallinity, could mean a great advantage. Besides, the possibility to control the degree of acetylation of chitin permits to enhance its adsorption potential by increasing its primary amine group density. Recent studies regarding the production of chitin-based biocomposites and its application as fluoride biosorbents have demonstrated the potential of these materials to be used in continuous adsorption processes. Moreover, these biocomposites could remove many different contaminants, including cations, organic compounds, and anions [27].

Chitosan has high affinity with the residual oil and excellent properties such as biodegradability, hydrophilicity, biocompability, adsorption property, flocculating ability, polyelectrolisity, antibacterial property, and its capacity of regeneration in many applications [28]. It has been used as non-toxic floccules in the treatment of organically polluted wastewater [29].

The effects of coagulation process on hardness are observed for varying levels of hardness, which resulted in significant decrease of hardness removal. The study correlates with the results obtained by [27], wherein they had a maximum hardness removal of 84.3% by chitosan in low turbid water with initial hardness of about 204 mg/l as CaCO3.

Several experiments were carried out to determine the comparative performance of chitosan on E. coli in different turbidities. E. coli negative is present in the chitin-treated waters in all of the turbidities. The conclusive evidence was found for the negative influence of chitosan on E. coli. The regrowth of E. coli was not observed in the experiments after 24 h, which was similar to the observations by [27].

As far as sago is considered, the starch was effective both individually and as blended coagulant. Unlike polyaluminium chloride, the efficiency of the natural coagulants is not affected by pH. The pH increased their efficiency, which is one of the advantages of natural coagulants. The principle behind the efficiency of the sago from the literature can be stated as follows: Sago starch is a natural polymer that is categorized as polyelectrolyte and can act as coagulant aid. Coagulant aid can be classified according to the ionization traits, which are the anions, cations, and amphoteric (with dual charges). Bratskaya et al. [30] mentioned that among the three groups, cation polymer is normally used to remove adsorbed negatively charged particles by attracting the adsorbed particles through electrostatic force. They discovered that anion polymer and those non-ionized cannot be used to coagulate negatively charged particles.

The chemical oxygen demand (COD) reduction is influenced by the concentration of sago used; the lower the concentration the better the removal of the COD. Using less than 1.50 g L-1, better COD reduction is observed. At this low concentration, settling time did not influence the COD reduction. Similarly, concentration of sago used at lower than 1.50 g L-1 reduced the turbidity in less than 15 min of settling time. Sago concentration higher than 1.50 g L-1 increased the turbidity; however, settling time has an influence on the turbidity reduction at higher sago concentrations. This pattern is congruent with the COD removal [31].

The sago starch-graft-polyacrylamide (SS-g-PAm) coagulants were found to achieve water turbidity removal up to 96.6%. The results of this study suggest that SS-g-PAm copolymer is a potential coagulant for reducing turbidity during water treatment [32].

At its optimum concentration, D. lablab seed powder does not affect the pH of the water. Total and calcium hardness remained almost constant and were within acceptable levels according to World Health Organization standards for drinking water. Moreover, coagulation of medium to high turbidity water with D. lablab seed powder with the finest grain size reduced turbidity further. The best performance of the finest seed powder could be due to its large total surface area, whereby most of the water-soluble proteins are at the solid–liquid interface during the extraction process as stated by Gassenschmidtet al. [33]. This might have increased the concentration of active coagulation polymer in the extract, which improved the coagulation process. The coagulant extract from seeds has shown antimicrobial activity in the comparative culture test, which was also observed in the study of Tandonet al. [34].

D. lablab demonstrated the best performance with turbid water, in which a turbidity removal efficiency of 87% was observed. The restabilization of destabilized colloidal particles, which was associated with higher residual turbidities, occurred at dosages above the optimum. It is commonly observed that particles are destabilized by small amounts of hydrolyzing metal salts and that optimum destabilization corresponds with neutralization of the particles’ charge. Larger amounts of coagulants cause charge reversal so that the particles become positively charged and, thus, restabilization occurs, which results in elevated turbidity levels [35]. It has also been observed that the reduction in turbidity is associated with significant improvements in bacteriological quality. The effect of natural coagulants on turbidity removal and the antimicrobial properties against microorganisms may render them applicable for simultaneous coagulation and disinfection of water for rural and peri-urban people in developing countries [36].

It is observed that blended coagulants gave utmost efficiency as compared to the traditional alum coagulants. Here in this blending process, we reduce the alum dose up to 80%; thus, we reduce the drawbacks of the alum. Also, we can reduce the cost of the treatment using the natural coagulants instead of the traditional coagulant.

E. coli is the best coliform indicator of fecal contamination from human and animal wastes. E. colipresence is more representative of fecal pollution because it is present in higher numbers in fecal material and generally not elsewhere in the environment [37]. Results showed the absence of E. coli increases with increasing time. A greater percentage of E. coli was eliminated in higher turbidities. The aggregation and, thus, removal of E. coli was directly proportional to the concentration of particles in the suspension. Chitosan and other natural coagulants showed antibacterial effects of 2 to 4 log reductions.

Antimicrobial effects of water-insoluble chitin and coagulants were attributed to both its flocculation and bactericidal activities. A bridging mechanism has been reported for bacterial coagulation by chitosan [38]. Especially with reference to chitosan, molecules can stack on the microbial cell surface, thereby forming an impervious layer around the cell that blocks the channels, which are crucial for living cells [39]. On the other hand, cell reduction in microorganisms, such as E. coli, occurred without noticeable cell aggregation by chitosan.

This indicates that flocculation was not the only mechanism by which microbial reduction occurred. It was found that when samples were stored during 24 h, regrowth of E. coli was not observed for all turbidities. It should be noted that the test water contained no nutrient to support regrowth of E. coli, and chitosan is not a nutrient source for it. Another experiment was designed to check the effect of alum alone. Regrowth of E. coli was not observed for unaided alum after 24 h. The number of E. coli after resuspension of sediment reached to the initial numbers after 24 h and showed that it cannot be inactivated by alum. Such findings have been previously reported by Bina[40].


Access to clean and safe drinking water is difficult in rural areas of India. Water is generally available during the rainy season, but it is muddy and full of sediments. Because of a lack of purifying agents, communities drink water that is no doubt contaminated by sediment and human feces. Thus, the use of natural coagulants that are locally available in combination with solar radiation, which is abundant and inexhaustible, provides a solution to the need for clean and safe drinking water in the rural communities of India. Use of this technology can reduce poverty, decrease excess morbidity and mortality from waterborne diseases, and improve overall quality of life in rural areas.

The application of coagulation treatment using natural coagulants on surface water was examined in this study. The surface water was characterized by a high concentration of suspended particles with a high turbidity. At a varied range of pH, the suspended particles easily dissolved and settled along with the coagulants added. Research has been undertaken to evaluate the performance of natural starches of sago flour, bean powder, and chitin to act as coagulants individually and in blended form. In all three cases, the main variable was the dosage of the coagulant. The study shows that natural characteristics of starch and other coagulants can be an efficient coagulant for surface water but would need further study in modifying it to be efficient to the maximum. Thus, it can be concluded that the blended coagulants are the best which give maximum removal efficiency in minimum time.

It is chitin and chitosan which can readily be derivatized by utilizing the reactivity of the primary amino group and the primary and secondary hydroxyl groups to find applications in diversified areas. In this work, an attempt has been made to increase the understanding of the importance and effects of chitin at various doses and pH conditions, upon the chemical and biological properties of water. In view of this, this study will attract the attention of academicians and environmentalists.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Saritha Vara

Author Affiliations

Department of Environmental Studies, GITAM Institute of Science, GITAM University, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh 530045, India

International Journal of Energy and Environmental Engineering 2012, 3:29 doi:10.1186/2251-6832-3-29
The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:http://www.journal-ijeee.com/content/3/1/29

Received: 24 May 2012
Accepted: 30 July 2012
Published: 5 October 2012

© 2012 Vara; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Categories : Science and Industry Updates

Study of Physico-Chemical Characteristics of Wastewater in an Urban Agglomeration in Romania – MyronLMeters.com

Posted by 11 Feb, 2013

TweetStudy of Physico-Chemical Characteristics of Wastewater in an Urban Agglomeration in Romania Abstract This study investigates the level of wastewater pollution by analyzing its chemical characteristics at five wastewater collectors. Samples are collected before they discharge into the Danube during a monitoring campaign of two weeks. Organic and inorganic compounds, heavy metals, and biogenic compounds […]

Study of Physico-Chemical Characteristics of Wastewater in an Urban Agglomeration in Romania


This study investigates the level of wastewater pollution by analyzing its chemical characteristics at five wastewater collectors. Samples are collected before they discharge into the Danube during a monitoring campaign of two weeks. Organic and inorganic compounds, heavy metals, and biogenic compounds have been analyzed using potentiometric and spectrophotometric methods. Experimental results show that the quality of wastewater varies from site to site and it greatly depends on the origin of the wastewater. Correlation analysis was used in order to identify possible relationships between concentrations of various analyzed parameters, which could be used in selecting the appropriate method for wastewater treatment to be implemented at wastewater plants.

1. Introduction

Sources of wastewater in the selected area are microindustries (like laundries, hotels, hospitals, etc.), macroindustries (industrial wastewater) and household activities (domestic wastewater). Wastewater is collected through sewage systems (underground sewage pipes) to one or more centralized Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs), where, ideally, the sewage water is treated. However, in cities and towns with old sewage systems treatment stations sometimes simply do not exist or, if they exist, they might not be properly equipped for an efficient treatment. Even when all establishments are connected to the sewage system, the designed capacities are often exceeded, resulting in a less efficient sewage system and occasional leaks.

Studies of water quality in various effluents revealed that anthropogenic activities have an important negative impact on water quality in the downstream sections of the major rivers. This is a result of cumulative effects from upstream development but also from inadequate wastewater treatment facilities. Water quality decay, characterized by important modifications of chemical oxygen demand (COD), total suspended solids (TSSs), total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorous (TP), iron (Fe), nickel (Ni), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), lead (Pb), and so forth [11] are the result of wastewater discharge in rivers. Water-related environmental quality has been shown to be far from adequate due to unknown characteristics of wastewater . Thus an important element in preventing and controlling river pollution by an effective management of STP is the existence of reliable and accurate information about the concentrations of pollutants in wastewater. Studies of wastewater in Danube basins can be found, for instance, in central and eastern European countries, but we are not aware of extensive studies of wastewater quality at regional/national level in Romania.

This paper analyses the chemical composition of wastewater at several collectors/stations in an important Romanian city, Galati, before being discharged into natural receptors, which in this case are the Danube and Siret Rivers. No sewage treatment existed when the monitoring campaign took place, except the mechanical separation. The study presented here is part of a larger project aiming at establishing the best treatment technology of wastewater at each station. Presently this project is in the implementation stage at all stations. Possible relationships between concentrations of various chemical residues in wastewater and with pollution sources are also investigated. The study is based on daily measurements of chemical parameters at five city collectors in Galati, Romania, during a two-week campaign in February 2010.

2. Experimental Analysis

2.1. Location of Sampling Sites

Galati-Braila area is the second urban agglomeration in Romania after Bucharest, which is located in Romania at the confluence of three major rivers: Danube, Siret, and Prut. The wastewater average flow is about 100000 m3/day . The drainage system covers an area of 2300 ha, serving approximately 99% of the population (approximately 300000 habitants). The basic drainage system is very old, dating back to the end of the 19th century, and was extended along with the expansion of the city due to demographic and industrial evolution. There are several collectors that collect wastewater and rainwater from various areas with very different characteristics, according to the existing water-pipe drainage system. There is no treatment at any station, except for simple mechanical separation. However, industrial wastewater is pretreated before being discharged in the city system. The five wastewater collectors are denoted in the following as S 1 , S 2 , … , S 5. Four of them discharge in the Danube River and the fifth discharges in the Siret River (which is an affluent of Danube River). Figure 1 shows the distribution of the monitoring sites and highlights the type of collecting area (domestic, industrial, or mixed). For the sake of brevity, these stations will be named in the present paper as “domestic,” “mixed,” and “industrial” stations, according to the type of collected wastewater. The mixture between domestic and industrial water at the two mixed collectors is the result of changes in city planning and various transformations of small/medium enterprises.

Figure 1


















Figure 1: Monitoring sampling sites of wastewater from Galati city.

Technical details about each collector/station can be found in Table 1. The first station, S1, collects 10% of the total quantity of wastewater. A high percentage of the water collected at this station comes from domestic sources from the south part of the city (more than 96%). Station S2 collects 64% of the total daily flow of wastewater, out of which 30% comes from domestic sources and the rest (70%) is industrial. Most of the industrial sources in this area are food-production units (milk, braid, wine) while the domestic sources include 20 schools, 4 hospitals, and important social objectives. Station S3 is located in the old part of the city and collects 5% of the total wastewater and has domestic sources. At the fourth station, S4, 11% of the quantity of wastewater is collected from domestic (70%) and industrial (30%) sources. The last collector, S5, collects wastewater from the industrial area of the city, where the most important objectives are a shipyard, metallurgical, and mechanical plants and transport stations.

Table 1

Table 1: Characteristics of collectors S 1 , … , S 5.

2.2. Physico-Chemical Parameters and Methods of Analysis

The physico-chemical parameters which were measured are the following:(i)pH;(ii)chemical oxygen demand (COD) and dissolved oxygen (DO);(iii)nutrients such as nitrate (N-NO3) and phosphate (P-PO4) (these were included due to their impact on the eutrophication phenomenon);(iv)metals such as aluminum (Al+3), soluble iron (Fe+2), and cadmium (Cd+2).

The pH and DO were determined in situ using a portable multiparameter analyzer. Other chemical parameters such as COD, metals and nutrients were determined according to the standard analytical methods for the examination of water and wastewater .

The COD values reflect the organic and inorganic compounds oxidized by dichromate with the following exceptions: some heterocyclic compounds (e.g., pyridine), quaternary nitrogen compounds, and readily volatile hydrocarbons. The concentration of metals (Al+3, Cd+2, Fe+2) was determined as a result of their toxicity.

The value of pH was analyzed according to the Romanian Standard using a portable multiparameter analyzer, Consort C932.

COD parameter was measured using COD Vials (COD 25–1500 mg/L, Merck, Germany). The digestion process of 3 mL aliquots was carried out in the COD Vials for 2 h at 148°C. The absorbance level of the digested samples was then measured with a spectrophotometer at λ = 605 nm (Spectroquant NOVA 60, Merck, Germany), the method being analogous to EPA methods [20], US Standard Methods, and Romanian Standard Methods.

The DO parameter was analyzed according to Romanian Standard using a portable multiparameter analyzer, Consort C932.

Aluminum ions (Al+3) were determined using Al Vials (Aluminum Test 0.020–1.20 mg/L, Merck, Germany) in a way analogous to US Standard Methods. The absorbance levels of the samples were then measured with a spectrophotometer (Spectroquant NOVA 60; Merck, Germany) at λ = 550 nm. The method was based on reaction between aluminum ions and Chromazurol S, in weakly acidic-acetate buffered solution, to form a blue-violet compound that is determined spectrophotometrically. The pH of the sample must be within range 3–10. Where necessary, the pH will be adjusted with sodium hydroxide solution or sulphuric acid.

Iron concentration (Fe+2) was determined using Iron Vials (Iron Test 0.005–5.00 mg/L, Merck, Germany) and their absorbance levels were then measured using a spectrophotometer (Spectroquant NOVA 60; Merck, Germany) at λ = 565 nm. The method was based on reducing all iron ions (Fe+3) to iron ions (Fe+2). In a thioglycolate-buffered medium, these react with a triazine derivative to form a red-violet complex which is spectrophotometrically determined. The pH must be within range 3–11. Where necessary the pH was adjusted with sodium hydroxide solution or sulphuric acid.

Cadmium ions (Cd+2) were determined using Cadmium Vials (Cadmium Test 0.005–5.00 mg/L, Merck, Germany), their absorbance levels being measured with a spectrophotometer (Spectroquant NOVA 60; Merck, Germany) at λ = 525 nm. The method was based on the reaction of cadmium ions with a cadion derivative (cadion-trivial name for 1-(4-nitrophenyl)-3-(4-phenylazophenyl)triazene), in alkaline solution, to form a red complex that is determined spectrophotometrically. The pH must be within the range 3–11, and, if not, the pH will be adjusted with sodium hydroxide solution or sulphuric acid.

Nitrogen content was determined using Nitrate Vials (Nitrate Cell test in seawater 0.10–3.00 mg/L NO3-N or 0.4–13.3 mg/L N O3 −, Merck, Germany). The method being based on the reaction of nitrate ions with resorcinol, in the presence of chloride, in a strongly sulphuric acid solution, to form a red-violet indophenols dye that is determined spectrophotometrically. The absorbance levels of the samples were then measured with a spectrophotometer (Spectroquant NOVA 60; Merck, Germany) at λ = 500 nm.

Phosphorous content was determined using Phosphate Vials (Phosphate Cell Test 0.5–25.0 mg/L PO4-P or 1.5–76.7 mg/L P O4 − 3, Merck, Germany) with a method that was analogous to the US Standard Methods [17]. The method was based on the reaction of orthophosphate anions, in a sulphuric solution, with ammonium vanadate and ammonium heptamolybdate to form orange-yellow molybdo-vanado-phosphoric acid that is determined spectrophotometrically (“VM” method). The absorbance levels of the samples were then measured with a spectrophotometer (Spectroquant NOVA 60; Merck, Germany) at λ = 410 nm.

All results were compared with standardized levels for wastewater quality found in accordance with European Commission Directive [23] and Romanian law [24].

3. Results and Discussion

3.1. The Acidity (pH)

The results for pH for all the investigated five collectors are shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2




















Figure 2: Daily variation of pH at all sites.

Generally, the wastewater collected at the monitored sites is slightly alkaline. The pH varies between 6.8 and 8.3—average value 7.82—thus the pH values are within the accepted range for Danube River according to the Romanian law, which is between 6.5 and 9.0. The pH variation is relatively similar at collectors S1–S4 (domestic and/or mixed domestic-industrial contribution). Lower pH values are observed at S5, which is dominated by industrial wastewater, originating from major enterprises and heavy industry. However, these values are not too low, since usually pH values for industrial wastewater are smaller than 6.5.

A significant decrease in the pH value was observed during the 8th day of the analyzed period at each station. Interestingly, a heavy snowfall took place at that particular time, thus the decrease could be attributed to the mixing between wastewater and a high quantity of low pH water, resulted from the melting of snow . One could speculate that the snowfall, which has an acidic character, might have affected the pH of the wastewater through “run off” phenomena.

No other snowfall took place during the monitoring campaign, thus no definite conclusion can be drawn for a possible relationship between pH and snowfalls.

3.2. Results for Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD)

Detection of COD values in each sampling site of wastewater is presented in Figure 3.

Figure 3




















Figure 3: Daily variation of COD at all sites.

All COD values are higher than the maximum accepted values (125 mg O2/L) of the Romanian Law . Both organic and inorganic compounds have an effect on urban wastewater’s oxidability since COD represents not only oxidation of organic compounds, but also the oxidation of reductive inorganic compounds. That means some inorganic compounds interfere with COD determination through the consumption of C r2O7 − 2. Two different behaviors can be observed, which are associated with the type of the collected wastewater as follows.(i)The first group consists of stations S2, S4 and S5 where the wastewater has an important industrial component. At these stations, COD values are approximately between 150 and 300 mg O2/L, smaller, for instance, than COD values found by in the raw wastewater produced by an industrial coffee plant where COD values were between 4000 and 4600 mg O2/L. Also, the temporal variation of COD values at all three stations is similar with no significant deviations from the average value, which is about 250 mg O2/L. Interestingly, the lowest COD level can be seen, on the average, at S5, which has the highest percentage of industrial wastewater. The second group comprises the “domestic” stations S1 and S3. The COD levels are higher, with values of 500 mg O2/L or more. Also, the variability is clearly higher than at the industrial-type stations. No clear association between the variations at the two sites can be seen. A peak in COD was measured in the 14th day of the study at site S1 (1160 mg O2/L). Since S1 is a domestic type station, it is unlikely that some major discharge led to such a high variation of COD. Unfortunately, no other information exists that might indicate a possible cause for this increase.

3.3. Results for Dissolved Oxygen (DO)

The amount of DO, which represents the concentration of chemical or biological compounds that can be oxidized and that might have pollution potential, can affect a sum of processes that include re-aeration, transport, photosynthesis, respiration, nitrification, and decay of organic matter. Low DO concentrations can lead to impaired fish development and maturation, increased fish mortality, and underwater habitat degradation . No standards are given by Romanian or European Law for DO in wastewater. The DO values for the analyzed wastewater at all five sites are shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4




















Figure 4: Daily variation of DO at all sites.

Concentration of DO varies at all sampling sites and has values between 0.96 (at S2) and 11.33 (at S4) mg O2/L with a mean value of 6.39 mg O2/L. These are clearly higher than DO values measured, for instance, in surface natural waters in China, where the Taihu watershed had the lowest DO level (2.70 mg/L), while in other rivers DO varied from 3.14 to 3.36 mg O2/L [34]. On the other hand, such high values of DO (9.0 mg O2/L) could be found, for instance, in the Santa Cruz River , who argued that discharging industry and domestic wastewater induced serious organic pollution in rivers, since the decrease of DO was mainly caused by the decomposition of organic compounds. Extremely low DO content (DO < 2 mg O2/L) usually indicates the degradation of an aquatic system .

The DO levels vary similarly for all selected sampling sites. The DO levels cover a wide range, with a minimum value of 1.0 mg O2/L at S1 and S3 and a maximum value of 11.33 mg O2/L at S4. There is a drop in DO at all stations, observed is in the 8th day of the monitoring interval, which coincides with the day when a similar decrease in pH took place. The lowest values of DO are observed for S1, one of the two “domestic” stations. It is interesting to note that DO at S5 is low although the wastewater here comes only from industry sources.

3.4. Metals

The variation of Al+3, Fe+2, and Cd+2 concentrations in wastewater are shown in Figures 5, 6, and 7. Al+3 concentrations (Figure 5) were mostly within the 0.05–0.20 mg/L range at all the sampling sites. However, during the beginning and the end of the monitoring campaign, Al+3 concentration at station S2 is high (reaching even 0.65 mg/L), nonetheless below the limit imposed by the Romanian law, which is 5 mg/L . The fact that in the beginning of the time interval, the concentration of Al+3 is high at two neighboring stations (S1 and S2) suggests that some localized discharge affecting both runaway and waste water, might have happened in the southern part of the city, which led to the increase of Al+3concentration in the collected wastewater. This is supported by the fact that the concentration gradually decreases at S2.


Figure 5: Daily variation of Al at all sites.

Figure 5




















Figure 6: Daily variation of Fe at all sites.

Figure 6




















Figure 7: Daily variation of Cd at all sites.

Figure 7




















The variation of Fe+2 concentrations is shown in Figure 6. Fe+2 concentration is within the 0.07–0.4 mg/L interval, below 5.0 mg/L, which is the maximum accepted value of the Romanian law . Two higher values were observed at S2 and S4 (both with industrial component) during the third and fourth days of the monitoring campaign.

Besides Al+3 and Fe+2, concentrations of Cd+2 were determined and the variations at the five stations are shown in Figure 7. Cd+2 is a rare pollutant, originating from heavy industry. Leakages in the sewage systems can also lead to Cd+2. Except for two days, Cd+2 varies between 0.005 and 0.04 mg/L. The two high values of 0.11 mg/L were observed in the first and fourth days at S5, which collects industrial wastewater. However, Cd+2 concentrations do not exceed the maximum accepted values of the Romanian law [24] for the monitoring interval which is 0.2 mg/L.

3.5. Nutrients

Water systems are very vulnerable to nitrate pollution sources like septic systems, animal waste, commercial fertilizers, and decaying organic matter [37]. Important quantities of nutrients, which are impossible to be removed naturally, can be found in rivers and this leads to the eutrophication of natural water (like Danube River). As a result, an increase in the lifetime of pathogenic microorganisms is expected. Measurement of nutrient (different forms of nitrogen (N) or phosphorous (P)) variations in domestic wastewater is strongly needed in order to maintain the water quality of receptors [36]. Nitrogen by nitrate (Figure 8) and phosphorous by phosphate (Figure 9) are considered as representative for nutrients.

Figure 8: Daily variation of N-NO3 at all sites.

Figure 8



















Figure 9: Daily variation of P-PO4 at all sites.

Figure 9




















Figure 8 shows that N-NO3 concentrations vary, on the average, between 0 and 5.0 mg/L.

At all four stations with a domestic component, S1, S2, S3 and S4, the concentration of N-NO3 is low (between 0 and 1.5 mg/L) and the daily variation is relatively similar at all sites. Noticeable drops of the N-NO3 concentration are observed at all stations in the 8th day of the monitoring interval, coinciding with pH (Figure 2) and DO strong variations (Figure 4). This supports the conclusion that the heavy snowfall recorded at that period had an important impact on wastewater quality most likely due to the runoff joining the sewage system.

The behavior of N-NO3 clearly differs at station S5, which collects only industrial wastewater. Significantly higher values of N-NO3, ranging from 2.0 to 5.0 mg/L, were detected. However, the mean concentration of N-NO3 remained below the maximum concentration given by the Romanian law [24]. Obviously, if treatment stations have to be set up, the priority for this particular nutrient component should concentrate on stations where industrial wastewater is collected.

Another nutrient that was analyzed for our study was orthophosphate expressed by phosphorous. The P-PO4 concentration varies, on the average, between 1.0 and 6.0 mg/L (Figure 9). For this component, concentrations are higher at domestic stations, S1 and S3, than at the other three stations. P-PO4 is expected to increase in domestic wastewater because of food, more precisely meat, processing, washing, and so forth. The lowest values were observed at S5, which has a negligible domestic component. Peaks in the P-PO4 concentration are observed at S1. Interestingly enough, P-PO4 temporal variations correlated pretty well at stations S2, S4, and S5 (which collect industrial wastewater). Unlike most of the other analyzed compounds, for which the concentrations were within the accepted ranges, the maximum level of P-PO4 is exceeded at all five collectors. Both Romanian law  and the European law  stipulate 2.0 mg/L total phosphorous for 10000–100000 habitants, and for more than 100000 habitants (as in Galati City’s case) 1.0 mg/L total phosphorus. Interestingly, domestic stations seem to require more attention with respect to the quality of water then industrial stations.

Our results regarding the variation and levels of the analyzed parameters are grouped below as the following.(1)The values of pH are within the accepted range for Danube, and their daily variations are relatively similar for both domestic and mixed wastewater. Significantly smaller pH values were measured in the wastewater with a high industrial load. A clear minimum was observed at all sites in the 8th day of the monitoring period, when a heavy snowfall took place. One could speculate that the snowfall, which has an acidic character, might have affected the pH of the wastewater through “run off” phenomena. However, a clear connection cannot be established relying on one event only.(2)The COD level clearly depends on the type of wastewater. Higher values were observed for domestic wastewater, while “pure” industrial wastewater has the lowest COD. This might be explained by the fact that industrial wastewater benefits from some treatment before being discharged into the city sewage system. However, COD does exceed the maximum accepted values according to the Romanian law [24] at all sites thus additional treatment is required at all stations.(3)Concentrations of all analysed metals, Al+3, Cd+2 and Fe+2, are within the limit of the Romanian law. No association with the type of wastewater could be inferred. Isolated peaks could not be linked with any specific polluting factors, except for Cd+2, for which accidental concentration increases are observed for pure industrial wastewater.(4)The level of P-PO4, one of the two nutrients that were analyzed, was high at all stations; however, the highest concentrations are associated with domestic loads.(5)Opposingly, the N-NO3 level is the highest, by far, in wastewater with a high industrial contribution.

3.6. Possible Relationships between Various Parameters

The experimental results have shown that some parameters might be related and that their behavior greatly depends on the type of collected wastewater. Differences between the behavior of physico-chemical parameters at the domestic sites (S1 and S3), on one hand, and at the other sites, on the other, was observed. Pearson correlation coefficients have been calculated between all parameters at all the selected five sites and corresponding significances. Although most of correlations were not significant, some interesting connections between various parameters at sites with similar characteristics were revealed. Table 2 shows correlation coefficients between various parameters for all five stations. Significant correlations at different types of stations are denoted as follows: italicized fonts for domestic stations, boldface italicized fonts for the industrial station and boldface fonts for mixed stations.

Table 2





























Table 2: Correlation coefficients calculated for station S1 to S5. Significant correlations at each type of stations are identified as follows: boldface italicized fonts for industrial station (S5), italicized fonts for domestic stations (S1 and S3) and boldface fonts for mixed stations (S2 and S4).

An important relationship seems to exist between pH and N-NO3 at all stations except for the industrial wastewater collecting site, S5 (i.e., at all stations collecting wastewater resulting from domestic activities). Similarly, pH correlates well with DO at all stations except the industrial one.

COD correlates with two metals, Cd+2 and soluble Fe+2, which is expected [30], but only at S1 and S3, where the daily variations of the concentration for these two metals (Cd+2 and soluble Fe+2) were similar.

No conclusion can be drawn for the industrial wastewater collector that was analyzed, where both positive and negative correlations were observed. The lack of correlation between the two metals and COD at the industrial wastewater collectors suggests that other processes, that alter the chemical equilibrium between the two chemical compounds, must be taken into account. For example some metals are complexed by organic compounds that are present in the water and the pH values can influence these phenomena.

DO correlates with pH and N-NO3 at all four sampling stations with domestic component (S1–S4) but the relationship vanish at S5 (industrial). There is also a negative correlation between DO and Fe+2 and Cd+2 only for domestic wastewater, which is expected because of the natural oxidation of metals. The correlation vanishes at the other three stations which collect wastewater from industrial areas.

Heavy metals, Fe+2 and Cd+2 correlate only at domestic stations and no relationships can be defined to link the concentration of Al+3 with other components.

The P-PO4 variation is linked to the variation of soluble Fe+2 at the two stations that collect domestic wastewater. Interestingly, these two elements exist together in reductive domestic systems because these are dominated by proteins, lipids, degradation products. This relationship disappears at the other stations, where the industrial load is significant. The other metals, Al+3, seems to be linked with P-PO4at stations S5 and S2, which collect wastewater with the highest industrial load. No link is observed for the rest of stations and for Cd+2 which can be explained by a higher probability of iron (II) orthophosphate to form in wastewater compared to Al+3 or Cd+2 orthophosphates.

Positive correlations can also be seen between P-PO4 and COD for all sampling sites except S1, where the relationship is still positive but less significant. The other nutrient, N-NO3, is anticorrelated with COD but only at S3 and is well correlated with pH and DO at all four stations with domestic component. The only exception is station S5, which collects mostly industrial wastewater.

Concluding, positive correlations were observed between the following parameters.(1)pH and N-NO3 everywhere except “purely” industrial water.(2)COD and soluble Fe+2 at domestic stations.(3)DO and pH, on the one hand, and DO and N-NO3 at domestic stations.(4)P-PO4 and soluble Fe+2 at domestic stations.(5)P-PO4 and COD everywhere, which, taking into account the high level of P-PO4 at domestic stations, might suggest that one important contributor to water quality degradation are household discharges.(6)Al+3 and P-PO4.

4. Conclusions

In the present paper we have analyzed the daily variation of several physico-chemical parameters of the wastewater (pH, COD, DO, Al+3, Fe+2, Cd+2, N-NO3, and P-PO4) at five collectors that have been characterized as domestic, industrial and mixed, according to the type of collecting area. Different results have been obtained for domestic and industrial wastewater. Most of the chemical parameters are within accepted ranges. Nevertheless, their values as well as their behavior depend significantly on the type of collected wastewater.

The overall conclusion is that wastewater with a high domestic load has the highest negative impact on water quality in a river. On the other hand, industrial wastewater brings an important nutrient load, with potentially negative effect on the basins where it is discharged. Our results suggested that meteorological factors (snow) might modify some characteristics of wastewater, but a clear connection cannot be established relying on one event only.

Significantly smaller pH values were measured in the wastewater with a high industrial load. The COD level clearly depends on the type of wastewater. Higher values were observed for wastewater with domestic sources, while “pure” industrial wastewater has the lowest COD. This might be explained by the fact that industrial wastewater benefits from some treatment before being discharged into the city sewage system. COD does exceed the maximum accepted values according to the Romanian law at all sites thus additional treatment is required at all stations. Accidental increases of Cd+2 concentrations are observed for pure industrial wastewater. The highest concentrations of P-PO4 are associated with domestic loads. Opposing, the N-NO3 level is clearly the highest in wastewater with a high industrial contribution.

Correlation analysis has been used in order to identify possible relationships between various parameters for wastewater of similar origin.

Positive correlations between various physico-chemical parameters exist for the domestic wastewater (DO, pH and N-NO3, on the one hand, and P-PO4, COD and soluble Fe+2, on the other hand). Except for two cases, these relationships break when the industrial load is high. Some of the existing correlations are expected as discussed above, thus any removal treatment should be differentiated according to the type of collector, before discharging it into the natural receptors in order to be costly efficient. Correlations between DO and COD and nutrient load suggest that the most important threat for natural basins in the studied area, are domestic sources for the wastewater.

The different percentages of industrial and domestic collected wastewater vary at each station, which has a clear impact on concentrations of the selected chemical components. Our results show that domestic wastewater has a higher negative impact on water quality than wastewater with a high industrial load, which, surprisingly, seems to be cleaner. This might be related to the fact that most industries are forced, by law, to apply a pretreatment before discharging wastewater into the city sewage system. Industrial wastewater affects the nutrient content of natural water basins. Although the time period was relatively short, our study identified specific requirements of chemical treatment at each station. An efficient treatment plan should take into account the type of wastewater to be processed at each station. Results presented here are linked with another research topic assessing the level of water quality in the lower basin of the Danube before and after implementing the complete biochemical treatment plants.


The work of Catalin Trif was supported by Project SOP HRD-EFICIENT 61445/2009.

Copyright © 2012 Paula Popa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited – original found here: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2012/549028/



Categories : Case Studies & Application Stories, Science and Industry Updates

Ultraviolet Water Purification – MyronLMeters.com

Posted by 30 Jan, 2013

Tweet A low pressure mercury vapor discharge tube floods the inside of a biosafety cabinet with shortwave UV light when not in use, sterilizing microbiological contaminants from irradiated surfaces. Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) is a disinfection method that uses ultraviolet (UV) light at sufficiently short wavelength to kill microorganisms. It is used in a variety […]

A low pressure mercury vapor discharge tube floods the inside of a biosafety cabinet with shortwave UV light when not in use, sterilizing microbiological contaminants from irradiated surfaces.

A low pressure mercury vapor discharge tube floods the inside of a biosafety cabinet with shortwave UV light when not in use, sterilizing microbiological contaminants from irradiated surfaces.

Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) is a disinfection method that uses ultraviolet (UV) light at sufficiently short wavelength to kill microorganisms. It is used in a variety of applications, such as food, air and water purification. UVGI uses short-wavelength ultraviolet radiation that is harmful to microorganisms. It is effective in destroying the nucleic acids in these organisms so that their DNA is disrupted by the UV radiation, leaving them unable to perform vital cellular functions.

The wavelength of UV that causes this effect is rare on Earth as the atmosphere blocks it. Using a UVGI device in certain environments like circulating air or water systems creates a deadly effect on micro-organisms such as pathogens, viruses and molds that are in these environments. Coupled with a filtration system, UVGI can remove harmful microorganisms from these environments.

The application of UVGI to disinfection has been an accepted practice since the mid-20th century. It has been used primarily in medical sanitation and sterile work facilities. Increasingly it was employed to sterilize drinking and wastewater, as the holding facilities were enclosed and could be circulated to ensure a higher exposure to the UV. In recent years UVGI has found renewed application in air sanitizing.

UV has been a known mutagen at the cellular level for more than one-hundred years. The 1903 Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to Niels Finsen for his use of UV against lupus vulgaris, tuberculosis of the skin.

Using ultraviolet (UV) light for drinking water disinfection dates back to 1916 in the U.S. Over the years, UV costs have declined as researchers develop and use new UV methods to disinfect water and wastewater. Currently, several states have developed regulations that allow systems to disinfect their drinking water supplies with UV light.


Ultraviolet light is electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths shorter than visible light. UV can be separated into various ranges, with short range UV (UVC) considered “germicidal UV.” At certain wavelengths UV is mutagenic to bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms. At a wavelength of 2,537 Angstroms (254 nm) UV will break the molecular bonds within micro-organismal DNA, producing thymine dimers in their DNA thereby destroying them, rendering them harmless or prohibiting growth and reproduction. It is a process similar to the UV effect of longer wavelengths (UVB) on humans, such as sunburn or sun glare. Microorganisms have less protection from UV and cannot survive prolonged exposure to it.

A UVGI system is designed to expose environments such as water tanks, sealed rooms and forced air systems to germicidal UV. Exposure comes from germicidal lamps that emit germicidal UV electromagnetic radiation at the correct wavelength, thus irradiating the environment. The forced flow of air or water through this environment ensures the exposure.


The effectiveness of germicidal UV in such an environment depends on a number of factors: the length of time a micro-organism is exposed to UV, power fluctuations of the UV source that impact the EM wavelength, the presence of particles that can protect the micro-organisms from UV, and a micro-organism’s ability to withstand UV during its exposure.

In many systems redundancy in exposing micro-organisms to UV is achieved by circulating the air or water repeatedly. This ensures multiple passes so that the UV is effective against the highest number of micro-organisms and will irradiate resistant micro-organisms more than once to break them down.

The effectiveness of this form of sterilization is also dependent on line-of-sight exposure of the micro-organisms to the UV light. Environments where design creates obstacles that block the UV light are not as effective. In such an environment the effectiveness is then reliant on the placement of the UVGI system so that line-of-sight is optimum for sterilization.

Sterilization is often misquoted as being achievable. While it is theoretically possible in a controlled environment, it is very difficult to prove and the term ‘disinfection’ is used by companies offering this service as to avoid legal reprimand. Specialist companies will often advertise a certain log reduction i.e. 99.9999% effective, instead of sterilization. This takes into consideration a phenomenon known as light and dark repair (photoreactivation and excision (BER) respectively) in which the DNA in the bacterium will fix itself after being damaged by UV light.

A separate problem that will affect UVGI is dust or other film coating the bulb, which can lower UV output. Therefore bulbs require annual replacement and scheduled cleaning to ensure effectiveness. The lifetime of germicidal UV bulbs varies depending on design. Also the material that the bulb is made of can absorb some of the germicidal rays.

Lamp cooling under airflow can also lower UV output, thus care should be taken to shield lamps from direct airflow via parabolic reflector. Or add additional lamps to compensate for the cooling effect.
Increases in effectiveness and UV intensity can be achieved by using reflection. Aluminium has the highest reflectivity rate versus other metals and is recommended when using UV.

Inactivation of microorganisms

The degree of inactivation by ultraviolet radiation is directly related to the UV dose applied to the water. The dosage, a product of UV light intensity and exposure time, is usually measured in microjoules per square centimeter, or alternatively as microwatt seconds per square centimeter (µW·s/cm2). Dosages for a 90% kill of most bacteria and virus range from 2,000 to 8,000 µW·s/cm2. Dosage for larger parasites such as Cryptosporidium require a lower dose for inactivation. As a result, the US EPA has accepted UV disinfection as a method for drinking water plants to obtain Cryptosporidium, Giardia or virus inactivation credits. For example, for one-decimal-logarithm reduction of Cryptosporidium, a minimum dose of 2,500 µW·s/cm2 is required based on the US EPA UV Guidance Manual published in 2006.

Weaknesses and strengths


UV water treatment devices can be used for well water and surface water disinfection. UV treatment compares favorably with other water disinfection systems in terms of cost, labor and the need for technically trained personnel for operation: deep tube wells fitted with hand pumps, while perhaps the simplest to operate, require expensive drilling rigs, are immobile sources, and often produce hard water that is found distasteful. Chlorine disinfection treats larger organisms and offers residual disinfection, but these systems are expensive because they need a special operator training and a steady supply of a potentially hazardous material. Finally, boiling water over a biomass cook stove is the most reliable treatment method but it demands labor, and imposes a high economic cost. UV treatment is rapid and, in terms of primary energy use, approximately 20,000 times more efficient than boiling.


UV disinfection is most effective for treating a high clarity purified reverse osmosis distilled water. Suspended particles are a problem because microorganisms buried within particles are shielded from the UV light and pass through the unit unaffected. However, UV systems can be coupled with a pre-filter to remove those larger organisms that would otherwise pass through the UV system unaffected. The pre-filter also clarifies the water to improve light transmittance and therefore UV dose throughout the entire water column. Another key factor of UV water treatment is the flow rate: if the flow is too high, water will pass through without enough UV exposure. If the flow is too low, heat may build up and damage the UV lamp.


In UVGI systems the lamps are shielded or are in environments that limit exposure, such as a closed water tank or closed air circulation system, often with interlocks that automatically shut off the UV lamps if the system is opened for access by human beings.

In human beings, skin exposure to germicidal wavelengths of UV light can produce sunburn and skin cancer. Exposure of the eyes to this UV radiation can produce extremely painful inflammation of the cornea and temporary or permanent vision impairment, up to and including blindness in some cases. UV can damage the retina of the eye.

Another potential danger is the UV production of ozone. Ozone can be harmful to health. The United States Environmental Protection Agency designated 0.05 parts per million (ppm) of ozone to be a safe level. Lamps designed to release UVC and higher frequencies are doped so that any UV light below 254 nm will not be released, thus ozone is not produced. A full spectrum lamp will release all UV wavelengths and will produce ozone as well as UVC, UVB, and UVA. (The ozone is produced when UVC hits oxygen (O2) molecules, and so is only produced when oxygen is present.)

UV-C radiation is able to break down chemical bonds. This leads to rapid ageing of plastics (insulations, gasket) and other materials. Note that plastics sold to be “UV-resistant” are tested only for UV-B, as UV-C doesn’t normally reach the surface of the Earth. When UV is used near plastic, rubber, or insulations care should be taken to shield said components; metal tape or aluminum foil will suffice.

A disadvantage of the technique is that water treated by chlorination is resistant to reinfection, where UVGI water must be transported and delivered in such a way as to avoid contamination.


Air disinfection

UVGI can be used to disinfect air with prolonged exposure. Disinfection is a function of UV concentration and time, CT. For this reason, it is not as effective on moving air, when the lamp is perpendicular to the flow, as exposure times are dramatically reduced. Air purification UVGI systems can be freestanding units with shielded UV lamps that use a fan to force air past the UV light. Other systems are installed in forced air systems so that the circulation for the premises moves micro-organisms past the lamps. Key to this form of sterilization is placement of the UV lamps and a good filtration system to remove the dead micro-organisms.[8] For example, forced air systems by design impede line-of-sight, thus creating areas of the environment that will be shaded from the UV light. However, a UV lamp placed at the coils and drainpan of cooling system will keep micro-organisms from forming in these naturally damp places.

ASHRAE covers UVGI and its applications in IAQ and building maintenance in its 2008 Handbook, HVAC Systems and Equipment in Chapter 16 titled Ultraviolet Lamp Systems. ASHRAE’s 2011 Handbook, HVAC Applications, covers ULTRAVIOLET AIR AND SURFACE TREATMENT in Chapter 60.

Water sterilization

Ultraviolet disinfection of water consists of a purely physical, chemical-free process. UV-C radiation attacks the vital DNA of the bacteria directly. The bacteria lose their reproductive capability and are destroyed. Even parasites such as Cryptosporidia or Giardia, which are extremely resistant to chemical disinfectants, are efficiently reduced.[9] UV can also be used to remove chlorine and chloramine species from water ; this process is called photolysis, and requires a higher dose than normal disinfection. The sterilized microorganisms are not removed from the water. UV disinfection does not remove dissolved organics, inorganic compounds or particles in the water.[10] However, UV-oxidation processes can be used to simultaneously destroy trace chemical contaminants and provide high-level disinfection, such as the world’s largest indirect potable reuse plant in Orange County, California.[11] That title will soon be taken by New York which is set to open the Catskill-Delaware Water Ultraviolet Disinfection Facility, by the end of 2012. A total of 56 energy-efficient UV reactors will be installed to treat 2.2 billion US gallons (8,300,000 m3) a day to serve New York City.

UV disinfection leaves no taint, chemicals or residues in the treated water. Disinfection using UV light is quick and clean.

UV tube project

The UV Tube is a design concept for providing inexpensive water disinfection to people in poor countries. The concept is based the ability of ultraviolet light to kill infectious agents by disrupting their DNA. It was initially developed under an “open source” model at the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. The form and composition of the UV Tube can vary depending on the resources available and the preferences of those building and using the device. However, certain geometric parameters must be maintained to ensure consistent performance. Several different versions of the UV Tube are currently being used in multiple locations in Mexico and Sri Lanka.


Germicidal lamp

Germicidal UV is delivered by a mercury-vapor lamp that emits UV at the germicidal wavelength. Mercury vapour emits at 254 nm. Many germicidal UV bulbs use special ballasts to regulate electrical current flow to the bulbs, similar to those needed for fluorescent lights. In some cases, UVGI electrodeless lamps can be energised with microwaves, giving very long stable life and other advantages[clarification needed]. This is known as ‘Microwave UV.’

Lamps are either amalgam or medium pressure lamps. Each type has specific strengths and weaknesses.
Low-pressure UV lamps
These offer high efficiencies (approx 35% UVC) but lower power, typically 1 W/cm power density (power per unit of arc length).

Amalgam UV lamps
A high-power version of low-pressure lamps. They operate at higher temperatures and have a lifetime of up to 16,000 hours. Their efficiency is slightly lower than that of traditional low-pressure lamps (approx 33% UVC output) and power density is approx 2–3 W/cm.

Medium-pressure UV
These lamps have a broad and pronounced peak-line spectrum and a high radiation output but lower UVC efficiency of 10% or less. Typical power density is 30 W/cm³ or greater.
Depending on the quartz glass used for the lamp body, low-pressure and amalgam UV lamps emit light at 254 nm and 185 nm (for oxidation). 185 nm light is used to generate ozone.

The UV units for water treatment consist of a specialized low pressure mercury vapor lamp that produces ultraviolet radiation at 254 nm, or medium pressure UV lamps that produce a polychromatic output from 200 nm to visible and infrared energy. The optimal wavelengths for disinfection are close to 260 nm. Medium pressure lamps are approximately 12% efficient, whilst amalgam low pressure lamps can be up to 40% efficient. The UV lamp never contacts the water, it is either housed in a quartz glass sleeve inside the water chamber or mounted external to the water which flows through the transparent UV tube. It is mounted so that water can pass through a flow chamber, and UV rays are admitted and absorbed into the stream.

Sizing of a UV system is affected by three variables: flow rate, lamp power and UV transmittance in the water. UV manufacturers typically developed sophisticated Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) models validated with bioassay testing. This typically involves testing the UV reactor’s disinfection performance with either MS2 or T1 bacteriophages at various flow rates, UV transmittance and power levels in order to develop a regression model for system sizing. For example, this is a requirement for all drinking water systems in the United States per the US EPA UV Guidance Manual.[6]:5-2

The flow profile is produced from the chamber geometry, flow rate and particular turbulence model selected. The radiation profile is developed from inputs such as water quality, lamp type (power, germicidal efficiency, spectral output, arc length) and the transmittance and dimension of the quartz sleeve. Proprietary CFD software simulates both the flow and radiation profiles. Once the 3-D model of the chamber is built, it’s populated with a grid or mesh that comprises thousands of small cubes.

Points of interest—such as at a bend, on the quartz sleeve surface, or around the wiper mechanism—use a higher resolution mesh, whilst other areas within the reactor use a coarse mesh. Once the mesh is produced, hundreds of thousands of virtual particles are “fired” through the chamber. Each particle has several variables of interest associated with it, and the particles are “harvested” after the reactor. Discrete phase modeling produces delivered dose, headless and other chamber specific parameters.

When the modeling phase is complete, selected systems are validated using a professional third party to provide oversight and to determine how closely the model is able to predict the reality of system performance. System validation uses non-pathogenic surrogates to determine the Reduction Equivalent Dose (RED) ability of the reactors. Most systems are validated to deliver 40 mJ/[cm.sup.2] within an envelope of flow and transmittance.
To validate effectiveness in drinking water systems, the methods described in the US EPA UV Guidance Manual is typically used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, whilst Europe has adopted Germany’s DVGW 294 standard. For wastewater systems, the NWRI/AwwaRF Ultraviolet Disinfection Guidelines for Drinking Water and Water Reuse protocols are typically used, especially in wastewater reuse applications.[14]
UV systems destined for drinking water applications are validated using a third party test house to demonstrate system capability, and usually a non pathogenic surrogate such as MS 2 phage or Bacillus Subtilis is used to verify actual system performance. UV manufacturers have verified the performance of a number of reactors, in each case iteratively improving the predictive models.

Wastewater treatment

Ultraviolet in wastewater treatment is replacing chlorination due to the chemical’s toxic by-products. Individual wastestreams to be treated by UVGI must be tested to ensure that the method will be effective due to potential interferences such as suspended solids, dyes or other substances that may block or absorb the UV radiation.

“UV units to treat small batches (1 to several liters) or low flows (1 to several liters per minute) of water at the community level are estimated to have costs of 0.02 US$ per 1000 liters of water, including the cost of electricity and consumables and the annualized capital cost of the unit.” (WHO)

Large scale urban UV wastewater treatment is performed in cities such as Edmonton, Alberta. The use of ultraviolet light has now become standard practice in most municipal wastewater treatment processes. Effluent is now starting to be recognised as a valuable resource, not a problem that needs to be dumped. Many wastewater facilities are being renamed as water reclamation facilities, and whether the waste water is being discharged into a river, being used to irrigate crops, or injected into an aquifer for later recovery. Ultraviolet light is now being used to ensure water is free from harmful organisms.

Aquarium and pond

Ultraviolet sterilizers are often used in aquaria and ponds to help control unwanted microorganisms in the water. Continuous sterilization of the water neutralizes single-cell algae and thereby increases water clarity. UV irradiation also ensures that exposed pathogens cannot reproduce, thus decreasing the likelihood of a disease outbreak in an aquarium. UV irradiation can also have a positive impact on an Aquariums Redox balance
Aquarium and pond sterilizers are typically small, with fittings for tubing that allows the water to flow through the sterilizer on its way from a separate external filter or water pump. Within the sterilizer, water flows as close as possible to the ultraviolet light source. Water pre-filtration is critical so as to lower water turbidity which will lower UVC penetration. Many of the better UV Sterilizers have long dwell times and limit the space between the UVC source and the inside wall of the UV Sterilizer device.

Laboratory hygiene

UVGI is often used to disinfect equipment such as safety goggles, instruments, pipettes, and other devices. Lab personnel also disinfects glassware and plasticware this way. Microbiology laboratories use UVGI to disinfect surfaces inside biological safety cabinets (“hoods”) between uses.

Food and beverage protection

Since the FDA issued a rule in 2001 requiring that virtually all fruit and vegetable juice producers follow HACCP controls, and mandating a 5-log reduction in pathogens, UVGI has seen some use in sterilization of fresh juices such as fresh-pressed apple cider.

Categories : Science and Industry Updates

Coming in 2013: The Myron L PoolPro PS9TK – MyronLMeters.com

Posted by 18 Jan, 2013

Tweet                            For Pool Professionals The PoolPro is a comprehensive high performance tool designed to simplify pool and spa water quality control for the pool professional. Both PoolPro models – the PS6 and the PS9TK feature innovative user-friendly features and functions that make […]



PoolPro PS9TK and PoolPro PS6














For Pool Professionals

The PoolPro is a comprehensive high performance tool designed to simplify pool and spa water quality control for the pool professional. Both PoolPro models – the PS6 and the PS9TK feature innovative user-friendly features and functions that make it easy to manage parameters critical to disinfection, water balance, system maintenance and compliance.

New! Fce FAC Readings

FCE function reports FAC quickly and accurately by measuring ORP, the chemical characteristic of chlorine that directly reflects its effectiveness, cross referenced with pH. Both DPD kits and colorimeters may tell the user the FAC value of the sample in the test tube, but since the chemistry of that sample is quite different from the source water being analyzed, the results are imprecisely related to actual disinfection power.

FCE function measures the real, unaltered chemistry of source water, including moment-to-moment changes in that chemistry.

FCE can be used for other types of oxidizing germicides and will track the effect of additives, such as cyanuric acid, that degrade chlorine effectively without changing the actual concentration of free available chlorine present.

In-Cell Titration Functions

The PS9TK adds the ability to perform in-cell conductometric titrations that provides a convenient way to determine alkalinity, hardness and LSI in the field. This eliminates the need to collect and transport samples to another location for analysis. User intuitive display prompts guide you through titration procedures from start to finish. All required reagents and equipment are included in the PS9 titration kit.

Water Balance Analysis

The PS9TK features both an LSI Calculator and an LSI Titration measurement mode. The Calculator allows you to perform what-if scenarios to predict how changes in solution parameters would affect the water balance of a system. The titration measurement function allows you to accurately calculate a saturation index value of a specific solution to determine whether the solution is balanced, scaling or corrosive.

Hardness Unit Conversion The Hardness and LSI Titrations and LSI Calculator functions allow you to set the hardness unit preference to either grains of hardness or ppm CaCO3 according to your needs.

System Validation & Calibration

The PoolPro provides a fast, precise, easy-to-use method of obtaining Oxidation Reduction Potential (ORP or REDOX) mV readings to check the true level of effectiveness of ALL sanitizers in any pool or spa. ORP objectively and precisely measures sanitizer ability to burn up, or oxidize, organic matter in the water. ORP can only be determined by an electronic instrument.

PoolPro ORP mV readings serve as a necessary check to ensure automatic ORP control systems are working properly. PoolPro also provides independent readings for recalibration and to detect system failure.

Saltwater Chlorine Generation

PoolPro provides a convenient one-touch test for Mineral/Salt concentration. This is ideal for saltwater systems where manual testing with separate instrumentation is necessary to ensure the proper amount of sodium chloride is present for chlorine generation in quantities specified for microbial disinfection. PoolPro can also be used to recalibrate equipment as part of regular maintenance.

Wireless Benefits

The optional bluDock™ accessory package is an integrated data solution for your record keeping requirements, eliminating the need for additional hardware, wires and hassle. Because the user never touches the data, there is little opportunity for data tampering and human error. bluDock software has an easy to use interface with user intuitive functions for storing, sorting and exporting data.

Simply the Best

PoolPro is lightweight, portable, buoyant, waterproof, easy-to-calibrate, and easy-to-use. Simply rinse and fill the cell cup by dipping the PoolPro in the water, then press the button of the parameter you wish to measure. You immediately get a standard, numerical digital readout — eliminating all subjectivity. And you can store up to 100 date-time-stamped readings in PoolPro’s non-volatile memory.

Watch for the product launch later this year.


Categories : Product Updates, Science and Industry Updates

Recent Papers in Water Treatment for Small/Decentralized Systems – MyronLMeters.com

Posted by 12 Jan, 2013

TweetRecent Papers in Water Treatment for Small/Decentralized Systems Content Table Recent Papers in Water Treatment for Small/Decentralized Systems  Turbidity and chlorine demand reduction using locally available physical water clarification mechanisms before household chlorination in developing countries Appropriate wastewater treatment systems for developing countries: criteria and indictor assessment in Thailand A new paradigm for low-cost urban […]

Recent Papers in Water Treatment for Small/Decentralized Systems

Content Table

Turbidity and chlorine demand reduction using locally available physical water clarification mechanisms before household chlorination in developing countries

Journal of Water and Health Vol 07 No 3 pp 497–506 © IWA Publishing 2009 doi:10.2166/wh.2009.071

Link to Summary Page

Nadine Kotlarz, Daniele Lantagne, Kelsey Preston and Kristen Jellison

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Lehigh University, 13 East Packer Avenue, Bethlehem, PA 18015, USA
Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road, MS-A38, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA Tel.:             +1 404 639 0231       Fax: +1 404 639 2205 E-mail: dlantagne@cdc.gov


Over 1.1 billion people in the world lack access to improved drinking water. Diarrhoeal and other waterborne diseases cause an estimated 1.9 million deaths per year. The Safe Water System (SWS) is a proven household water treatment intervention that reduces diarrhoeal disease incidence among users in developing countries. Turbid waters pose a particular challenge to implementation of SWS programmes; although research shows that a 3.75 mg l-1 sodium hypochlorite dose effectively treats turbid waters, users sometimes object to the strong chlorine taste and prefer to drink water that is more aesthetically pleasing. This study investigated the efficacy of three locally available water clarification mechanisms—cloth filtration, settling/decanting and sand filtration—to reduce turbidity and chlorine demand at turbidities of 10, 30, 70, 100 and 300 NTU. All three mechanisms reduced turbidity (cloth filtration -1–60%, settling/decanting 78–88% and sand filtration 57–99%). Sand filtration (P=0.002) and settling/decanting (P=0.004), but not cloth filtration (P=0.30), were effective at reducing chlorine demand compared with controls. Recommendations for implementing organizations based on these results are discussed.

Appropriate wastewater treatment systems for developing countries: criteria and indictor assessment in Thailand

Water Science & Technology—WST Vol 59 No 9 pp 1873–1884 © IWA Publishing 2009 doi:10.2166/wst.2009.215

Link to Summary Page

W. Singhirunnusorn and M. K. Stenstrom

Faculty of Environment and Resource Studies, Mahasarakham University, Kantharawichai District, Maha Sarakham Province 44150, Thailand E-mail: swichitra@gmail.com
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UCLA, Los Angeles CA 90095, USA E-mail: stenstro@seas.ucla.edu


This paper presents a comprehensive approach with factors to select appropriate wastewater treatment systems in developing countries in general and Thailand in particular. Instead of focusing merely on the technical dimensions, the study integrates the social, economic, and environmental concerns to develop a set of criteria and indicators (C&I) useful for evaluating appropriate system alternatives. The paper identifies seven elements crucial for technical selection: reliability, simplicity, efficiency, land requirement, affordability, social acceptability, and sustainability. Variables are organized into three hierarchical elements, namely: principles, criteria, and indicators. The study utilizes a mail survey to obtain information from Thai experts—academicians, practitioners, and government officials—to evaluate the C&I list. Responses were received from 33 experts on two multi-criteria analysis inquiries—ranking and rating—to obtain evaluative judgments. Results show that reliability, affordability, and efficiency are among the most important elements, followed by sustainability and social acceptability. Land requirement and simplicity are low in priority with relatively inferior weighting. A number of criteria are then developed to match the contextual environment of each particular condition. A total of 14 criteria are identified which comprised 64 indicators. Unimportant criteria and indicators are discarded after careful consideration, since some of the indicators are local or site specific.

A new paradigm for low-cost urban water supplies and sanitation in developing countries

Water Policy Vol 10 No 2 pp 119–129 © IWA Publishing 2008 doi:10.2166/wp.2008.034

Link to Summary Page

Duncan Maraa and Graham Alabasterb

aCorresponding author. School of Civil Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT UK. Fax: +44-113-343-2243 E-mail: d.d.mara@leeds.ac.uk
bUnited Nations Human Settlements Programme, PO Box 30300, Nairobi, Kenya


To achieve the Millennium Development Goals for urban water supply and sanitation ~300,000 and ~400,000 people will have to be provided with an adequate water supply and adequate sanitation, respectively, every day during 2001–2015. The provision of urban water supply and sanitation services for these numbers of people necessitates action not only on an unprecedented scale, but also in a radically new way as “more of the same” is unlikely to achieve these goals. A “new paradigm” is proposed for low-cost urban water supply and sanitation, as follows: water supply and sanitation provision in urban areas and large villages should be to groups of households, not to individual households. Groups of households would form (even be required to form, or pay more if they do not) water and sanitation cooperatives. There would be standpipe and yard-tap cooperatives served by community-managed sanitation blocks, on-site sanitation systems or condominial sewerage, depending on space availability and costs and, for non-poor households, in-house multiple-tap cooperatives served by condominial sewerage or, in low-density areas, by septic tanks with on-site effluent disposal. Very poor households (those unable to afford to form standpipe cooperatives) would be served by community-managed standpipes and sanitation blocks.

Faecal bacterial indicators removal in various wastewater treatment plants located in Almendares River watershed (Cuba)

Water Science & Technology—WST Vol 58 No 4 pp 773–779 © IWA Publishing 2008 doi:10.2166/wst.2008.440

Link to Summary Page

Tamara Garcia-Armisen, Josué Prats, Yociel Marrero and Pierre Servais

Ecologie des Systèmes Aquatiques, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium *Present address: MINT, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Building E, Pleinlaan 2, 1050, Brussels, Belgium Tel.:            +3226291918       E-mail: tgarciaa@vub.ac.be
Dpto. de Microbiología, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de La Habana, La Habana, Cuba
Instituto Superior Politécnico José Antonio Echeverría, La Habana, Cuba


The Almendares River, located in Havana city, receives the wastewaters of more than 200,000 inhabitants. The high abundance of faecal bacterial indicators (FBIs) in the downstream stretch of the river reflects the very poor microbiological water quality. In this zone, the Almendares water is used for irrigation of urban agriculture and recreational activities although the microbiological standards for these uses are not met. Improvement of wastewater treatment is absolutely required to protect the population against health risk. This paper compares the removal of FBIs in three wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) located in this watershed: a conventional facility using trickling filters, a constructed wetland (CW) and a solar aquatic system (SAS). The results indicate better removal efficiency in the two natural systems (CW and SAS) for all the measured parameters (suspended matters, biological oxygen demand, total coliforms, E. coli and enterococci). Removals of the FBIs were around two log units higher in both natural systems than in the conventional one. A longitudinal profile of the microbiological quality of the river illustrates the negative impact of the large conventional WWTP. This case study confirms the usefulness of small and natural WWTPs for tropical developing countries, even in urban and periurban areas.

Treatment of low and medium strength sewage in a lab-scale gradual concentric chambers (GCC) reactor

Water Science & Technology—WST Vol 57 No 8 pp 1155–1160 © IWA Publishing 2008 doi:10.2166/wst.2008.093

Link to Summary Page

L. Mendoza, M. Carballa, L. Zhang and W. Verstraete

Experimental Reproduction Centre (CEYSA), Agricultural Faculty, Technical University of Cotopaxi, Latacunga, Ecuador E-mail: lauramen_2000@yahoo.com
Laboratory of Microbial Ecology and Technology (LabMET), Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, B-9000, Ghent, Belgium E-mail: willy.verstraete@ugent.be; marta.carballa@ugent.be; lezhanghua@hotmail.com


One of the major challenges of anaerobic technology is its applicability for low strength wastewaters, such as sewage. The lab-scale design and performance of a novel Gradual Concentric Chambers (GCC) reactor treating low (165±24 mg COD/L) and medium strength (550 mg COD/L) domestic wastewaters were studied. Experimental data were collected to evaluate the influence of chemical oxygen demand (COD) concentrations in the influent and the hydraulic retention time (HRT) on the performance of the GCC reactor. Two reactors (R1 and R2), integrating anaerobic and aerobic processes, were studied at ambient (26°C) and mesophilic (35°C) temperature, respectively. The highest COD removal efficiency (94%) was obtained when treating medium strength wastewater at an organic loading rate (OLR) of 1.9 g COD/L·d (HRT = 4 h). The COD levels in the final effluent were around 36 mg/L. For the low strength domestic wastewater, a highest removal efficiency of 85% was observed, producing a final effluent with 22 mg COD/L. Changes in the nutrient concentration levels were followed for both reactors.

Use of modelling for optimization and upgrade of a tropical wastewater treatment plant in a developing country

Water Science & Technology Vol 56 No 7 pp 21–31 © IWA Publishing 2007 doi:10.2166/wst.2007.675

Link to Summary Page

D. Brdjanovic*, M. Mithaiwala** , M.S. Moussa*** , G. Amy* and M.C.M. van Loosdrecht**** 

*Department of Urban Water and Sanitation, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Westvest 7, PO Box 3015, 2061 DA , Delft, The Netherlands (E-mail: d.brjanovic@unesco-ihe.org)
**Drainage Department, Surat Municipal Corporation, Muglisara, Surat , Gujarat, 395003, India (Email: mayank_heena6143@yahoo.com)
***Civil Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering Mataria, Helwan , University, Egypt (Email: m.moussa@delft-environment.com)
****Department of Biochemical Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Julianalaan 67, 2628 BC , Delft, The Netherlands (Email: m.c.m.vanloosdrecht@tudelft.nl)


This paper presents results of a novel application of coupling the Activated Sludge Model No. 3 (ASM3) and the Anaerobic Digestion Model No.1 (ADM1) to assess a tropical wastewater treatment plant in a developing country (Surat, India). In general, the coupled model was very capable of predicting current plant operation. The model proved to be a useful tool in investigating various scenarios for optimising treatment performance under present conditions and examination of upgrade options to meet stricter and upcoming effluent discharge criteria regarding N removal. It appears that use of plant-wide modelling of wastewater treatment plants is a promising approach towards addressing often complex interactions within the plant itself. It can also create an enabling environment for the implementations of the novel side processes for treatment of nutrient-rich, side-streams (reject water) from sludge treatment.

Ceramic silver-impregnated pot filters for household drinking water treatment in developing countries: material characterization and performance study

Water Science & Technology: Water Supply Vol 7 No 5-6 pp 9–17 © IWA Publishing 2007 doi:10.2166/ws.2007.142

Link to Summary Page

D. van Halem*, S.G.J. Heijman* , A.I.A. Soppe** , J.C. van Dijk* and G.L. Amy*** 

*Delft University of Technology, Stevinweg 1, 2628 CN , Delft, The Netherlands (E-mail: d.vanhalem@tudelft.nl; j.c.vandijk@tudelft.nl)
**Delft University of Technology & Kiwa Water Research, Groningenhaven 7, 3433 PE , Nieuwegein, The Netherlands (E-mail: s.g.j.heijman@tudelft.nl)
***Aqua for All Foundation, Groningenhaven 7, 3433 PE , Nieuwegein, The Netherlands (E-mail: gsoppe@planet.nl)
****UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Westvest 7, 2611 AX , Delft, The Netherlands (E-mail: g.amy@unesco-ihe.org)


The ceramic silver-impregnated pot filter (CSF) is a low-cost drinking water treatment system currently produced in many factories worldwide. The objective of this study is to gather performance data to provide a scientific basis for organisations to safely scale-up and implement the CSF technology. Filters from three production locations are included in this study: Cambodia, Ghana and Nicaragua. The microstructure of the filter material was studied using mercury intrusion porosimetry and bubble-point tests. Effective pores were measured with a mean of 40 mm, which is larger than many pathogenic microorganisms. The removal efficiency of these microorganisms was measured by using indicator organisms; total coliforms naturally present in canal water, sulphite reducing Clostridium spores, E.coli K12 and MS2 bacteriophages. The removal of these organisms was monitored during a long-term study of several months in the laboratory. Ceramic silver impregnated pot filters successfully removed total coliforms and sulphite reducing Clostridium spores. High concentrations of Escherichia coli K12 were also removed, with log(10) reduction values consistently higher than 2. MS2 bacteriophages were only partially removed from the water, with significantly better results for filters without an impregnation of colloidal silver. During this study the main deficiency of the filter system proved to be the low water production; after 12 weeks of use all filter discharges were below 0.5 Lh-1, which is insufficient to provide drinking water for a family

Ceramic membranes for direct river water treatment applying coagulation and microfiltration

Water Science & Technology: Water Supply Vol 6 No 4 pp 89–98 © IWA Publishing 2006 doi:10.2166/ws.2006.906

Link to Summary Page

A. Loi-Brügger*, S. Panglisch*, P. Buchta*, K. Hattori**, H. Yonekawa**, Y. Tomita** and R. Gimbel*,***

*IWW Water Center, Moritzstr. 26, 45476 Mülheim, , Germany (E-mail: a.loi@iww-online.de)
**NGK Insulators Ltd., 2-56 Suda-cho, Nagoya, Aichi, , 467-8530, Japan (E-mail: kohji-h@ngk.co.jp)
***Institut für Energie- und Umweltverfahrenstechnik, Universität Duisburg-Essen Bismarckstr. 90, 47057 Duisburg, , Germany (E-mail: gimbel@uni-duisburg.de)


A new ceramic membrane has been designed by NGK Insulators Ltd., Japan, to compete in the drinking water treatment market. The IWW Water Centre, Germany, investigated the operational performance and economical feasibility of this ceramic membrane in a one year pilot study of direct river water treatment with the hybrid process of coagulation and microfiltration. The aim of this study was to investigate flux, recovery, and DOC retention performance and to determine optimum operating conditions of NGK’s ceramic membrane filtration system with special regards to economical aspects. Temporarily, the performance of the ceramic membrane was challenged under adverse conditions. During pilot plant operation river water with turbidities between 3 and 100 FNU was treated. Membrane flux was increased stepwise from 80–300 l/m2h resulting in recoveries between 95.9 and 98.9%. A DOC removal between about 20–35% was achieved. The pilot study and the subsequent economical evaluation showed the potential to provide a reliable and cost competitive process option for water treatment. The robustness of the ceramic membrane filtration process makes it attractive for a broad range of water treatment applications and, due to low maintenance requirements, also suitable for drinking water treatment in developing countries.

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MyronLMeters.com now ships to over 220 countries.


Categories : Case Studies & Application Stories, Science and Industry Updates

Reverse osmosis biofouling: Impact of feed channel spacer and biofilm development in spacer-filled channels – MyronLMeters.com

Posted by 9 Jan, 2013

TweetIntroduction Water desalination via reverse osmosis (RO) technology provides a solution to the world’s water shortage problem. Until now, the production of fresh water from seawater has reached 21-million cubic meter per day all around the world (Wangnick, 2005). However, the success of RO technology is subject to improvement as the technology is challenged by […]


Water desalination via reverse osmosis (RO) technology provides a solution to the world’s water shortage problem. Until now, the production of fresh water from seawater has reached 21-million cubic meter per day all around the world (Wangnick, 2005). However, the success of RO technology is subject to improvement as the technology is challenged by a biofouling problem –a problem related to biological material development which forms a sticky layer on the membrane surface (Flemming, 1997; Baker and Dudley, 1998).

Continuous biofouling problems in RO lead to higher energy input requirement as an effect of increased biofilm resistance (Rf) and biofilm enhanced osmotic pressure (BEOP), lower quality of product water due to concentration polarization (CP) – increased concentration due to solutes accumulation on the membrane surface, (Herzberg and Elimelech, 2007), and thus significant increase in both operating and maintenance costs.

Recent studies and objectives

Recent studies show the importance of the operating conditions (e.g. flux and cross flow velocities) in RO biofouling. The presence of feed channel spacers has also been getting more attention as it may have adverse effects. A previous study (Chong et al., 2008) without feed channel spacers showed that RO biofouling was a flux driven process where higher flux increased fouling rate. It was also shown that biofouling caused a BEOP effect due to elevated CP of solutes at the membrane surface, thus resulted in loss of driving force. The BEOP effect was more severe at high flux and low crossflow operation.

In another recent study (Vrouwenvelder et al., 2009a) involving feed channel spacers suggested that flux did not affect fouling and biofouling was more severe when the crossflow velocity was higher. However, these studies were conducted on river water at low level of salinity and under no/very low flux conditions, which may suggested that BEOP effect was not observed in the above studies. These contradictory observations relating to the biofouling process in RO need to be systematically addressed as it is critical to understand the mechanism for sustainable operation of RO technology.

The objective of this study was to observe the impact of spacer towards RO biofouling as well as to investigate the development of biofilm in a spacer filled channel. The experiments were conducted at constant flux and biofouling was observed by the increase of transmembrane pressure (TMP). Observation with confocal light scanning microscope (CLSM) method was conducted to the fouled membrane and spacers to provide information of biofilm development inside the membrane module.

Materials and methods

A lab-scale set-up was arranged to resemble the real RO operation where experiments were performed with elevated salinity, high pressure, imposed flux, and permeation. The schematic diagram of the set-up is depicted in Figure 1. It is a fully-recycled system with two identical RO modules running in series. Feed solution contained constant amounts NaCl and nutrient broth (NB) to provide sufficient TOC level.

The study was conducted in the constant flux mode and biofouling was measured via the rise in TMP. A mass-flow controller was installed at the permeate side to maintain the amount of permeate withdrawn. A bacteria solution was injected into the system before the feed solution entered the RO modules and a set of microfilters (5 μm and 0.2 μm) were installed at downstream to prevent excess bacteria from entering the feed tank and turning the feed tank into an “active bioreactor”.


Model bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PAO1) was used in the experiment. Bacteria stock solution used in the biofouling tests was prepared in batch and the stock solution was replenished every 24 hours. Bacteria were grown in mixture of NB and NaCl solution where they were harvested after 24 hours and diluted into autoclaved salt solution. The concentration of bacteria was controlled and measured by optical density (OD) using UV spectrophotometer at 600 nm. Batch prepared bacteria stock solution has some advantages over using continuous feed from a chemostat (Chong et al., 2008). A more consistent and fresh bacteria load and without excess nutrient was introduced into the system as nutrient content was completely removed in the harvesting step.

Prior to every experiment, cut RO membranes (DOW Filmtec, BW-30) were soaked in Milli-Q water and sterilized in 70% ethanol solution. Similar pretreatment procedures were applied to membrane support layers and feed channel spacers prior every experiment. The spacers used in the experiments are obtained from unused Hydranautics LFC-1 spiral wound module (Figure 2).


The membranes were compacted at a maximum flux (~65 L/m2.h) overnight with Milli-Q water until a stable flux was achieved. Following compaction, the flux was set to the desired values and NaCl solution was added into the feed tank until the desired concentration was achieved. The system was let to mix for 1.5 hours. NB solution was then added into the feed tank to provide an average background nutrient concentration of 6.5 mg/L TOC. The system was allowed to well-mix for 1.5 hours.

The biofouling test was initiated by continuous injection of bacteria stock solution into the flow line at a dilution rate of 1:500 based on RO cross-flow rate. Biofilm was allowed to grow on the RO membranes. TMP rise due to biofouling was measured over time. The solution in the feed tank was removed and replaced with a fresh solution at the same NaCl and NB concentration twice per day in order to maintain the freshness level of the feed solution.

Upon completion of the fouling test, the RO system was cleaned with:
 Tap water adjusted to pH 2 with HNO3 for 1.5 hours
 Tap water adjusted to pH 11 with NaOH for 1.5 hours
 Flowing tap water for rinsing for 1.5 hours
 Final rinsing with Milli-Q water at unadjusted pH

The fouled membranes were removed from the RO cells for membrane autopsy. In this analysis, fluorescence staining methods and confocal laser scanning microscope (CLSM) were used to detect the biofilm.

Biofilms were prepared for CLSM by staining with the LIVE/DEAD BacLight Bacterial Viability Kits (Molecular Probes, L7012). It consists of SYTO 9 green-fluorescent nucleic acid stain and the red-fluorescent nucleic acid stain, propidium iodide (PI). These stains possess different spectral characteristics and different ability to penetrate healthy bacterial cells. When used alone, the SYTO 9 stain generally labels all bacteria in a population — those with intact and damaged membranes. In contrast, propidium iodide penetrates only bacteria with damaged membranes, causing a reduction in the SYTO 9 stain fluorescence when both dyes are present. Thus, with an appropriate mixture of the SYTO 9 and propidium iodide stains, bacteria with intact cell membranes stain fluorescent green, whereas bacteria with damaged membranes stain fluorescent red.

Microscopic observation and image acquisition of biofilms were performed using a confocal laser scanning microscope (ZEISS, model LSM710), equipped with Argon laser at 488 nm and DPSS561-10 laser at 561 nm. Images were captured using confocal microscope bundled program ZEN 2009.

Results and discussions

The cross-flow velocity (CFV) in RO membrane operations is known to affect fouling rate. At higher CFV, the flow causes scouring effects which results in slower fouling (Koltuniewicz et al., 1995). On the other hand, experiments of RO modules without the presence of flux shows that a higher cross-flow velocity may increase biofouling due to more nutrients supply (Vrouwenvelder et al., 2009b).

In our study, the investigation was carried out by varying the cross-flow velocity (CFV) from
0.1, 0.17, to 0.34 m/s. The NaCl concentration used was constant at 2000 mg/L and the applied flux was constant at 35 LMH. TMP values were measured overtime and normalized to the initial TMP.


Figure 3 shows the normalized TMP profiles. Faster TMP rise was observed at lower CFV and both operation with and without spacer show similar profiles. The delay of TMP rise caused by spacer was quantified by measuring the time needed for the TMP to increase by 10 % (Table 1). The effect of spacer was higher at higher CFV where the percentage of the delay was 21.21 % and 42.87 % at 0.10 m/s and 0.17 m/s respectively. An interesting phenomenon was observed during the earlier TMP rise (0-3 days) where change in CFV gives little effect on TMP profiles. Similar phenomenon was observed for operation with and without spacer. A possible explanation for this phenomenon is that during this period bacterial attachment was dominant and therefore operation at constant flux gives similar initial TMP rise. Previous studies (Chong et al., 2008) have shown previously that membrane biofouling is a flux driven process where higher flux increases the TMP rise. However, their study did not include spacers and did not focus on initial TMP rise.

Table 1. The delay of biofouling rate caused by spacer at different CFV



The effect of different salt concentrations was also investigated. In this experiment the flux and CFV were fixed at 35 LMH and 0.17 m/s respectively. Figure 4 shows the normalized TMP profile of three different NaCl concentrations in the feed solution. When the feed channel spacer was absent it was very obvious that faster TMP rise was observed at higher salt concentration. This suggests that the effect of concentration polarization (CP) increases with the salt concentration and confirms the presence of the biofilm enhanced osmotic pressure (BEOP) effect (Herzberg and Elimelech, 2007; Chong et al., 2008). This phenomenon however, was less obvious when the spacer was present on the membrane. The spacer appears to provide flow eddies thus reducing the effect of CP and to be useful to prevent biofouling on the membrane which was indicated with slower TMP rise. The spacer gives bigger effect at higher salt concentration where the time to reach 10 % TMP rise was delayed by 30 % at 100 mg/L and 2000 mg/L NaCl, and 95.7 % at 4000 mg/L (Table 2).


4.2 Biofilm development in spacer-filled RO membrane channel The development of biofilm in spacer-filled channel was observed via microscopic and microscopic method. Macroscopic images are to show overall uniformity of biofilm distribution, while the microscopic images are able to show a more detailed biofilm patterns. All of the images in this study were taken from separate experiments as the samples were unable to be reused after analysis, however all the conditions for the experiments were maintained the same.

Figure 5 shows the macroscopic images of biofilm development. The biofilm sample on the membranes and spacers were stained with 5-cyano-2,3-ditolyl tetrazolium chloride (CTC) dye. CTC stains bacteria with respiration activity and stained cells appear in red colour. Analysis was done after 0, 3, 6, and 10 days, the condition was 35 LMH flux, 0.17 m/s CFV, and 4000 mg/L NaCl concentration. Longer experiment duration gives thicker and denser biofilm, which can be seen from higher red colour intensity. The biofilms have also shown overall uniformity across the membrane area where similar patterns were observed among each spacer squares.


Figure 5. Macroscopic images of biofilm development on membranes and spacers. (A) 0-day, (B) 3-day, (C) 6-day, (D) 10-day. Biofilms stained with CTC dye and images taken with SONY NEX-5 digital camera.

Confocal laser scanning microscope (CLSM) provides a more detailed analysis of biofilm development (Figure 6). Based on the images, it appears that biofilm was initiated on the membrane; it later covered more areas and started to appear on the spacer. Areas behind the attached filaments of the spacer fiber seem to be suitable for the initial bacterial attachments rather than the centre of the spacer. Biofilm build-up observed on areas under the detached filaments was caused by higher shear due to accelerated CFV. Our experiments confirmed that biofouling in RO is a flux driven process. A lower TMP rise was observed at lower flux, which means slower biofouling rate. This is also supported with the biofilm coverage data where less coverage was observed at lower flux.



From the findings above, several conclusions can be drawn. The hydrodynamic condition of the flow is affecting the biofouling process. Cross flow velocity (CFV) is an important parameter and lower fouling can be achieved at higher CFV. Having feed channel spacers on the membrane is advantageous as it provides a more well-mixed flow, reduces concentration polarization and reduces TMP increase. Biofilm enhanced osmotic pressure (BEOP) was another phenomenon observed in this study. Due to the BEOP effect, a faster TMP rise was achieved at higher salinity. However, with the presence of the spacer the BEOP effect was reduced significantly.

From our microscopic analysis of biofilm shows that initial bacterial deposition and biofilm development was started on the membrane especially on areas behind the attached spacer filaments. Biofilm develops over time to cover more areas and starts to grow on the spacer at the later stages. Imposed flux also influences the biofilm development where lower biofouling is achieved at lower flux.


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Chong, T. H., Wong, F. S. and Fane, A. G. (2008), “The effect of imposed flux on biofouling in reverse osmosis: Role of concentration polarisation and biofilm enhanced osmotic pressure phenomena”, Journal of Membrane Science, Vol. 325, No. 2, pp. 840-850.

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Herzberg, M. and Elimelech, M. (2007), “Biofouling of reverse osmosis membranes: Role of biofilm-enhanced osmotic pressure”, Journal of Membrane Science, Vol. 295, No. 1-2, pp.

Koltuniewicz, A. B., Field, R. W. and Arnot, T. C. (1995), “Cross-flow and dead-end microfiltration of oily-water emulsion. Part I: Experimental study and analysis of flux decline”, Journal of Membrane Science, Vol. 102, No. 1-3, pp. 193-207.

Suwarno, S. R., Puspitasari, V. L., Chong, T. H., Fane, A. G., Chen, X., Rice, S. A., Mcdougald, D. and Cohen, Y. (2010) “The hydrodynamic effect on biofouling in reverse osmosis membrane processes”, IWA International Young Water Professionals Conference, Sydney,

Vrouwenvelder, J. S., Hinrichs, C., Van Der Meer, W. G., Van Loosdrecht, M. C. and Kruithof, J. C. (2009b), “Pressure drop increase by biofilm accumulation in spiral wound RO and NF membrane systems: role of substrate concentration, flow velocity, substrate load and flow direction”, Biofouling, Vol. 25, No. 6, pp. 543-555.

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