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Effect of a Gravel Bed Flocculator on the Efficiency of a Low Cost Water Treatment Plants

Authors: Alaa Hussein Wadi


The principal objective of a water treatment plant is to produce water that satisfies a set of drinking water quality standards at a reasonable price to the consumers. The gravel-bed flocculator provide a simple and inexpensive design for flocculation in small water treatment plants (less than 5000 m3/day capacity). The packed bed of gravel provides ideal conditions for the formation of compact settleable flocs because of continuous recontact provided by the sinuous flow of water through the interstices formed by the gravel. The field data which were obtained from the operation of the water supply treatment unit cover the physical, chemical and biological water qualities of the raw and settled water as obtained by the operation of the treatment unit. The experiments were carried out with the aim of assessing the efficiency of the gravel filter in removing the turbidity, pathogenic bacteria, from the raw water. The water treatment plant, which was constructed for the treatment of river water, was in principle a rapid sand filter. The results show that the average value of the turbidity level of the settled water was 4.83 NTU with a standard deviation of turbidity 2.893 NTU. This indicated that the removal efficiency of the sedimentation tank (gravel filter) was about 67.8 %. for pH values fluctuated between 7.75 and 8.15, indicating the alkaline nature of the raw water of the river Shatt Al-Hilla, as expected. Raw water pH is depressed slightly following alum coagulation. The pH of the settled water ranged from 7.75 to a maximum of 8.05. The bacteriological tests which were carried out on the water samples were: total coliform test, E-coli test, and the plate count test. In each test the procedure used was as outlined in the Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater (APHA, AWWA, and WPCF, 1985). The gravel filter exhibit a low performance in removing bacterial load. The percentage bacterial removal, which is maximum for total plate count (19%) and minimum for total coliform (16.82%).

Keywords: turbidity, Gravel bed flocculator, total coliform

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