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Quantitative Performance Screening Method for Flocculants Based on Particle Size Distribution Data

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  21st Century Watershed Technology: Improving Water Quality and Environment Conference Proceedings, 29 March - 3 April 2008, Concepcion, Chile  701P0208cd.(doi:10.13031/2013.24297)
Authors:   Sebastian Fernando Torrealba, Richard Charles Warner
Keywords:   Flocculation, Polyacrylamides, Sediment Detention Basin, Sediment Trapping Efficiency

Polymeric flocculants such as polyacrylamides (PAM) have been used extensively in wastewater industry to remove fine solids. Such polymers can be used for sediment control at construction and mining sites. Anionic and medium-charged cationic PAM has been found to be very effective for sediment control sites assessed in this applied research. The anionic PAM flocculants are preferred over cationic counterparts primarily based on environmental concerns. Usually there are several different anionic PAM flocculants available in the market place. Standard jar tests are often used to assess flocculant performance but such a method provides only a qualitative perspective. Laboratory scale vertical column tests can be used to screen available anionic PAM flocculants based on settling performance; however such procedures are time consuming and costly. A new screening methodology based on particle size distribution data was developed and tested to quantitatively compare the performance of different anionic PAM flocculants. This new technique is more accurate than the typical jar tests encountered in wastewater applications and is much more cost effective than a column test. A performance index based on changes in the particle size distribution was developed and used to screen PAM flocculants. A total of 2 sediments and 12 flocculants (6 for each type of sediment) were used in conducting the screening tests.

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