You are on page 1of 71

Purification of water

On Large Scale
 well water - needs no extensive
treatment, needs only disinfection
 surface water- river water , turbid and
polluted needs extensive treatment

1. Storage
2. Filtration
3. Disinfection
 further pollution is prevented
 considerable amount of purification
takes place
1. Physical : 90% of the suspended
impurities settle down by gravity,
water becomes clearer, allows
penetration of light and reduces the
work of the filters
Chemical - the aerobic bacteria oxidize
the organic matter with the aid of
dissolved oxygen - free ammonia is
reduced and rise in nitrates occurs
Biological - bacterial count drops by90%
in first 5-7 days, optimum storage period
is10-14 days
if stored for long periods likelihood of
development of algae which impart bad
smell or color to water
2. Filtration
 98-99 % of bacteria are removed
apart from other impurities

 2 types of filters are used
1. Slow sand or Biological filters
2. Rapid sand or Mechanical Filters
Slow sand or biological filters
they are accepted as a standard
method of water purification
used since 1804 in Scotland and
subsequently in London
in 19th century spread throughout the
Elements of a slow sand filter
1. Supernatant Raw Water
2. a bed of graded sand
3. an under drainage system
4. A system of filter controlled Valves
Supernatant water
 above the sand bed,
 depth varies from 1-1.5 meter,
 serves 2 purposes
1. provides constant head of water so as
to overcome the resistance of filter bed
and thereby promote the downward
flow of water through the sand bed
2. It provides a waiting period of some
hours (3-12 hours depending upon the
filtration velocity) for the raw water to
undergo partial purification by
sedimentation, oxidation and particle
the level of supernatant water is
always kept constant
Most important part of the filter is sand bed
the thickness of the sand bed is about 1
the sand grains are carefully chosen so
that they are preferably rounded and have
a effective diameter between 0.2- 0.3 mm
the sand should be free from clay and
organic matter
the sand bed is supported by a layer of graded
gravel, 30-40 cm deep which also prevents the
fine grains being carried into the drainage pipes
the sand bed presents a vast surface
area,1cubic meter of filter sand presents, 15000
sq meters of surface area
Water percolates through the sand bed very
slowly( a process taking 2 hours or more)
during the process it is subjected to a
number of purification process -
mechanical straining, sedimentation
adsorption, oxidation and bacterial
the designed rate of filtration is 0.1
-0.4 m3/hour/square meter of sand bed
Vital layer
when newly laid it acts like a mechanical
strainer but not biological
very soon sand bed gets covered by a
slimy growth known as 'schmutzdecke'-
vital layer, zoogleal, biological layer
this layer is slimy and gelatinous and
consists of thread like algae and
numerous forms of life including plankton,
diatoms and bacteria
the formation of vital layer is known as
ripening of the filter
it may take several days for the vital
layer to form fully, when fully formed it
extends for 2 -3 cm into the top portion
of the sand bed
vital layer is the heart of the slow sand
it removes organic matter, holds back
bacteria and oxidizes ammoniacal
nitrogen into nitrates and helps in
yielding a bacteria free water
until vital layer is formed the first few
days water is usually run to waste
3.Under drainage system
At the bottom of the filter bed is the under
drainage system
consists of porous or perforated pipes
which serve the dual purpose of providing
an outlet for filtered water and supporting
the filter medium above
once the filter bed has been laid under
drainage system cannot be seen
supernatant water, sand bed and
under drainage system are contained
it is an open box, usually rectangular
in shape 2.5-4 meters deep and built
wholly or partly below the ground
the walls may be of stone brick or
Filter box- consists from top to
Supernatant water 1-1.5 m

Sand bed 1.2 meter

Gravel support 0.3 meter

Filter bottom 0.16 meter
Filter control
filter is equipped with certain valves
and devices which are incorporated in
the outlet pipe system
purpose is to maintain a constant rate
of filtration
'Venturi meter' which measures the
bed resistance or 'loss of head'
when resistance builds up, operator
opens the regulating valve to maintain
steady rate of filtration
when loss of head exceeds 1.3 meter it
is uneconomical to run the filter
Filter cleaning

when the bed resistance increases to
such an extent that the regulating
valve has to be kept fully open, it is
time to clean the filter bed, since any
further increase in resistance is bound
to reduce the filtration rate
at this stage, the supernatant water is
drained off, and the sand bed is cleaned
by 'scrapping' off the top portion of the
sand layer to a depth of 1-2 cms
this operation may be carried out by
unskilled laborers using hand tools or by
mechanical equipment
after several years of operation , 20 or
30 scrapings, the thickness of the sand
bed will have to be reduced to about 0.5
-0.8 meter, then the plant is closed down
and new bed is constructed
Advantages of slow sand filter
1. Simple to construct and operate
2. the cost of the construction is
cheaper than rapid sand filter
3. the physical, chemical and
bacteriological quality of filtered
water is very high- ideally bacterial
counts are reduced by 99.9 to 99.99
% and E. coli by 99 - 99.9 %
in recent years a mistaken idea has
grown that slow sand filtration is an
old fashioned, out dated method
it is not so
new plants are constructed in the
highly industrialized countries of U.S
and Europe
Rapid Sand filter
 in 1885 have been installed in USA
 are of 2 types
1. the gravity type( Paterson type)
2. the pressure type (Candy's filter)
1. Coagulation
2. Rapid mixing
3. Flocculation
4. Sedimentation
5. Filtration
6. backwashing
treated with a chemical coagulant like
alum, dose varies from 5-40 mg or
more per liter, depending on the
turbidity, color, temperature, and the
pH value of water
Rapid mixing
then subjected to violent agitation in a
mixing chamber for a few minutes
this allows a quick and thorough
dissemination of alum throughout the
bulk of water
a slow and gentle stirring of treated
water in a flocculation chamber for about
30 min
mechanical type of flocculator is most
widely used
it consists of a number of paddles which
rotate at 2-4 rpm
the paddle rotates with the help of
led to sedimentation tanks
it is detained for periods of 2-6 hours
when flocculant precipitate with
impurities and bacteria settle down
about 95% of flocculant precipitate
needs to be removed before the water
is admitted into rapid sand filters
Filter beds
each unit of filter bed has a surface of
about 80-90 m2(about 90feet)
sand is the filtering medium
effective size of the sand particles is
between 0.4 - 0.7mm
the depth of the sand bed is usually
about 1 meter (2.5 - 3 feet)
Below the sand bed is a layer of
graded gravel, 30 - 40cm ( 1-1.5 feet )
the gravel supports the sand bed and
permits the filtered water to move
filtered water to move freely towards
the under drains
the under drains at the bottom of the
filter beds collect the filtered water
rate of filtration is 5 -15 m3/m2/hour
as filtration proceeds, the 'alum-floc' not
removed by sedimentation is held back
on the sandbed
it forms a slimy layer comparable to the
zoogleal layer in the slow sand filters
it absorbs bacteria from the water and
effects purification.
oxidation of ammonia also takes place
during the passage of water through the
as filtration proceeds, the
suspended impurities and bacteria
clog the filters
the filters soon become dirty and
begin to lose their efficiency
when loss of head approaches 7-8
feet, filtration is stopped and the
filters are subjected to a washing
process known as back washing
Back washing
rapid sand filters need frequent
washing daily or weekly, depending
upon the loss of head
washing is accomplished by
reversing the flow of water through
the sand bed- back washing
back washing dislodges the
impurities and cleans up the sand
washing is stopped when clear
sand is visible and the wash water
is sufficiently clear
the whole process of washing
takes about 15 minutes
in some rapid sand filters,
compressed air is used as apart of
the backwashing process
rapid sand filter can deal with the raw
water directly. No preliminary storage is
filter bed occupies less space
filtration is rapid 40-50 times that of a
slow sand filter
the washing of the filter is easy
there is more flexibility in the operation
Comparison of rapid and slow sand
Space little Large
rate of 200 m.g.a.d 2-3 m.g.a.d
effective 0.4-0.7 mm 0.2- 0.3 mm
sand size
preliminary chemical plain
treatment coagulation sedimentation
washing by by scraping the
backwashing sandbed
operation highly skilled less skilled

loss of head 6-8 feet ( 2- 4 feet (1.5 m)
allowed 2.5m)

removal of good good

removal of good fair

removal of 98 - 99 % 99.9- 99.99 %
Criteria for a disinfectant
 capable of destroying the pathogenic
organisms and not influenced by the
physical and chemical properties of
 should not leave products of reaction
 Have ready and dependable
availability, reasonable cost,
permitting convenient, safe and
accurate application to water
 Possess the property of residual
concentration to deal with small
possible recontamination
Amenable for detection by practical,
rapid and simple analytical techniques
in small concentration ranges to
permit to control the efficiency of the
disinfection process
Kills all pathogenic bacteria
No action on spores and certain viruses like
polio and viral hepatitis except at higher
oxidises iron, manganese and hydrogen
destroys some tastes and odour producing
controls algae and slime organisms
aids in coagulation
Action of chlorine
formation of hydrochloric and
hypochlorous acids
hydrochloric acids is neutralized by
the alkalinity of water
hypochlorous acid ionizes to form
hydrogen ions and hypochlorite ions
H20 + Cl2 -> HCl + HOCl
HOCl -> H + OCL
the disinfecting action of chlorine is
mainly due to the action of
hypochlorous acid, small extent due to
the hypochlorite ions
hypochlorous acid is 70-80 times
effective than hypochlorite ions
chlorine acts as best disinfective a t
pH 7 because of the predominance of
hypochlorous acid
at pH 8.5 chlorine is unreliable
because of 90% of hypochlorous acid
gets ionised to hypochlorite ions
it is fortunate that most of the waters
have a pH of 6-7.5
Principles of chlorination
1. the water to be chlorinated should be clear
and free from turbidity
2. chlorine demand of the water should be
3. contact period of 1 hour
4. free residual chlorine should be 0.5mg/ ltr
for 1 hr
5. sum of chlorine demand + free residual
chlorine - 0.5 mg/ l is the correct dose
Method of chlorination
1. Chlorine gas
2. Chloramine
3. Perchloron
chlorine gas
cheap, quick in action and easy to
since it is irritant to eyes and
poisonous chlorinating equipment is
Paterson's chloronome is one such
device for measuring, regulating and
administering gaseous chlorine to
water supplies
are loose compounds of chlorine
and ammonia
less tendency to produce
chlorinous taste
more persistent type of residual
slower action and not used
Perchloron or H.T.H
high test hypochlorite is a calcium
compound 60-70% available
 chlorine gas has replaced all these
Break point chlorination
the addition of chlorine to
ammonical water produces
chloramine which do not have the
same efficiency as free chlorine
if the chlorine dose is increased a
reduction in the free residual
chlorine occurs due to destruction of
chloramine by the added chlorine
the end products do not represent
any residual chlorine
this fall in residual chlorine will continue with
further increase in chlorine dose
after a stage residual chlorine begins to
increase in proportion to the added dose of
this point at which the residual chlorine
appears when all combined chlorines are
completely destroyed is called is the breakpoint
and corresponding dosage is the breakpoint
Breakpoint chlorination achieves
the same results as
superchlorination in a rational
manner and therefore be
considered as controlled
Chlorine demand
chlorine demand of water is the
difference between the amount of
chlorine added to the water and the
amount of residual chlorine
remaining at the end of a specific
period of contact- 1 hr, at a given
temperature and pH of water
In other words it is the amount of
chlorine that is needed to destroy
the bacteria, and to oxidize all
organic matter and ammoniacal
substances present in the water
Break point chlorination
The point at which the chlorine
demand of the water is met is
called the breakpoint.
If further chlorine is added beyond
the breakpoint, free chlorine begins
to appear in the water
Superchlorination followed by
dechlorination is applied to heavily
polluted water whose quality
fluctuates greatly
Orthotoluidine test
to test both free and combined
chlorine in water with speed and
developed in 1918
reagent is analytical grade O
-tolidine dissolved in 10% solution
of hydrochloric acid
when the reagent is added to water
containing chlorine , it turns to
yellow and the intensity varies with
the concentration of the gas
OT reacts with free chlorine
instantaneously and more slowly
with combined chlorine
add 0.1 ml of the reagent to 1 ml of
the yellow colour produced is
matched with the standard colour
commercial equipment is available
for this purpose
reading is taken at the end of 10
secs for free residual chlorine and
after 15-20 minutes - free and
combined chlorine
Orthotolidine arsenite test
modification of the test to
determine free and combined
chlorine separately
errors caused by interfering
substances such as nitrites ,iron
and manganese all of which
produce a yellow colour with O-
toludine are overcome by the OTA
Other disinfecting agents
ultravoilet radiation
relatively unstable gas
it is a powerful oxidising agent
it eliminates undesirable odor, taste and
colour and removes all chlorine from water
ozone is a powerful virucidal agent
in seconds kills all viruses but chlorine or
iodine requires minutes
more than 1000 municipal water
treatment plants use ozone, oldest
is in France since 1906
drawback is it decomposes after it
there is no residual germicidal
The current thinking is that ozone
should be used as a pretreatment
of water to destroy not only viruses
and bacteria but also organic
compounds that are precursors for
undesirable chloro-organic
compounds that form when
chlorine is added
Ultraviolet radiation
effective against most
microorganisms including viruses
method involves the exposure of a
film of water up to 120mm thick to
one or several quartz mercury
vapor arc lamps emitting ultraviolet
radiation at a wavelength in the
range of 200-295 nm
Applications are limited to
individual or institutional systems
water should be free from turbidity
and suspended or colloidal
constituents for efficient
exposure time is short
no foreign matter is introduced
no taste and odor produced
no residual side effects
lack of rapid field test for efficiency
expensive apparatus