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One of the responsibilities of an Environmental Engineer is to provide safe and wholesome water to the people in sufficient quantities, at accessible points. Let us look at the first condition here. The quality of water occurring at various points in the hydrological cycle varies quite widely. Some of this water may be so clean and pleasant that it would be fit for human consumption as found in nature. For example, spring water from an unpolluted upland ground water source would be such a source. However, quite commonly nowadays, the water found in natural sources themselves is not fit for direct human consumption, due to the presence of various impurities. Therefore, in order to make the water found at the sources potable, it is required to subject it to some form of treatment. The form of treatment required depends on the quality of the water at the source, and the water quality required in the treated water. This final water quality is decided upon, using the water quality standards applicable. For example, in most developing countries, the objective water quality is based on WHO Guidelines for Drinking Water, published every 4 years or so, latest available at present being the one published in 1996. In the European Community, the standards are more stringent in respect of some constituents, and they follow the EC Standards. In the United States, USEPA (US Environmental Protection Agency) sets the Federal Drinking Water Regulations under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA 1974, amended in 1986 etc.), while the States are responsible for the implementation, administration and enforcement of the regulations. These various standards were discussed in the earlier lecture on water quality. In this and the next few lectures, we shall be looking at ways and means of bringing the source water quality up to the quality required for a safe and wholesome drinking water supply. Impurities in Water The impurities in water occur in many forms, and the objective of treatment is to remove these impurities to a reasonable level. There would be some dissolved gases (such as CO2 and H2S), dissolved solids (such as minerals and organic contaminants), colloidal solids (such as micro-organisms) and suspended solids (such as clay, silt and organic matter). The amounts of these constituents in the source water depend to a large extent on the type of source. For example, in groundwater, there would generally be a higher concentration of dissolved gases and dissolved solids, while the concentrations of colloidal and suspended solids would be less, whereas in surface water, the suspended and colloidal solid concentrations could be expected to be much higher. In addition, the characteristics of a surface water source are more likely to be seasonally variable than those of a ground water source. If the source is a deep reservoir, the quality is likely to vary with the depth too. Thus it is important to know the physical and chemical character of the various impurities present in the source water in order to design a suitable treatment system.

Removal of impurities The common methods of removal of these various types of impurities are as follows. Dissolved Gases Dissolved Solids Colloidal Solids Suspended Solids Aeration and Gas transfer Precipitation/Adsorption Coagulation/Flocculation/Sedimentation Sedimentation

These various steps in the treatment process are referred to as Unit Operations. This term was originally used by chemical engineers to break up chemical processes into a series of actions or operations. Now it is used by public health engineers, to extend it to chemical and biological processes used in water and wastewater treatment. Conventionally water treatment was aimed at removal of dissolved gases, colloidal and suspended solids and pathogenic organisms. Thus the Unit Operations in a conventional water treatment plant would be: Aeration, Plain Sedimentation, Coagulation, Flocculation, Sedimentation, Filtration, Disinfection and Stabilization. In addition to the above unit operations, sometimes specific treatment would be required to remove specific impurities: These non-conventional or specific treatment steps include: Softening, Activated Carbon Adsorption for removal of Dissolved Organic Contaminants, Desalination and removal of Inorganic Contaminants using Ion Exchange, Iron and Manganese Removal etc.

The purpose of aeration is: 1) Addition of oxygen to the water- in order to oxidize dissolved iron and manganese in ground water and to make the water more palatable. 2) Removal of carbon dioxide - to reduce corrosion and interference with the softening process. 3) Removal of methane, H2S, and ammonia gases, in order to Eliminate odours and tastes Decrease corrosion and disintegration of cement and concrete Lessen interference with chlorination 4) Removal of volatile oils and similar odour and taste producing substances released by algae and other microorganisms.

Types of Aerators
1. Gravity Aerators - cascades, inclined plates, vertical stacks (through which droplets fall and updrafts of air ascends in counter current flow), multiple tray aerators (stacks of perforated pans or trays). Spray Aerators Orifices or nozzles in stationary pipes. Orifices or nozzles in movable pipes. Air Diffusers Mechanical Aerators - Creates turbulence so that water and air will mix up.


3. 4.

Aeration Theory
The transfer, by aeration, of a volatile material to or from water is dependent upon a number of factors. These include: (1) Characteristics of the volatile material to be added or removed. (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) Temperature Gas transfer resistance. Partial pressure of gases in the aerator atmosphere. Turbulence in gaseous and liquid phases. Area - volume ratio. Time of exposure.

One important characteristic of the gas is the saturation concentration of the gas in the liquid, at which it is in equilibrium with the gas in the atmosphere to which it is exposed. This is denoted as Cs. Cs is principally dependent upon the temperature and the partial pressure of the gas in the exposed atmosphere. p [T] Henry's Law Cs Cs 1/T [p]

Also, gas solubility is reduced by dissolved solids. The driving force for interchange of gas between the air and water is provided by the difference between the saturation concentration and the actual concentration of the gas in the water at any given time. If the concentration of gas in the water is less than Cs for that particular partial pressure and temperature, more gas will dissolve until equilibrium is reached when C = Cs (This is what happens for O2)

If, on the other hand, the concentration of gas is more than the Cs for the partial pressure and temperature, then the gas will be expelled from the water until C = Cs, or equilibrium is reached. The transfer of gas occurs through a gas film and a liquid film at the gas / liquid interface, and through the turbulent body of the liquid. The equation governing this mass transfer can be simplified to:dC / dt = KL a (Cs-C) Where, dC / dt = rate of change of concentration of gas KL = Gas transfer coefficient
a = A/ V =
C s C = (C s C o ) e

area of gas / liquid interface volume of liquid


K L a )t

or C s C = ( C s C o ) e 10


( A / V )t

where kL= 0.4343 KL [e=100.4343]

Where Co = initial concentration Thus

t Cs C = e ( K L a) Cs C0

(KLa) is referred to as the overall gas transfe r coefficien t , (k2 )

(KLa) can be determined by experimental methods - determining the gas concentration C at different time intervals.


Cs C


Cs C Cs C0

t time



Cs C = ( K L a ) t log C s C0


= - 0.4343 ( KL a ) t Gradient = 0.4343 KL a Therefore


gradient 0 . 4343

but a = A / V Hence KL and KLa can be calculated. Assume a value of Cs and


C sC Log C C o s

and plot this against t.

If a straight line is obtained, Cs is correct. If not, it may need some adjustment. When a straight line is obtained, then, gradient = 0.4343 KLa For cascade, spray or weir aeration, t is difficult to determine. Therefore, if a constant time tK is assumed, and C = effluent gas concentration, Ce

Cs Ce = e ( K L a )tK = Cs C0


Cs Ce Cs Co Ce + Co = Cs C0 Cs Co
= 1 C C
e s


o o

= 1- K Where K is the "efficiency coefficient"

To find Cs, 1.

Cs = k DC g
where kD = Distribution Coefficient

Cg = Concentration of gas in gas phase

and, C g =

MW .p RT = Partial pressure of the gas and = Molecular weight = Universal Gas Constant


p MW R
PV = nRT
P RT = n V

nxMW = Cg V MW =p RT

Thus, C s = k D .

MW .p RT

2. Henry's Cofficient, kH Cs = kH . p Where, kH = Henrys Coefficient, in g/m3.Pa = g / J 3. Bunsen Absorption Coefficient, kb kb = How much gas volume (m3 ) reduced to STP (O 0 C and 101.3 kPa) can be absorbed per unit volume (m3) of water at a partial pressure of p0 = 101.3 kPa of gas, in gas phase.

kD . MW RT

Thus, at STP of gas in gas phase, Cs = kb (m3 STP / m3 water) At any other partial pressure, p Cs = kb p ; p0 Cs = k b . MW . p g / m3 RT0

Ex. A spray aerator was found to remove 10 g/m3 of CO2 at an initial CO2 content of 26 g/m3. Determine (a) The efficiency coefficient K and (b) the effluent concentration of water containing 41 g CO2 / m3 when sprayed under the same hydraulic conditions. Assume a saturation concentration of Cs=1g CO2 / m3.

Cs Ce =1 K Cs Co K =1 = Cs Ce C C0 = e Cs Co Cs C0

10 10 = = 0 .4 1 26 25 C 41 41 C e 0 .4 = e = 1 41 40 C e = 16 + 41 = 25 g / m 3

Oxygenation Capacity - mostly applicable to aeration of wastewater, (Activated sludge treatment) is defined as the rate of oxygen transfer at a temperature of 10 0 C, a pressure of 101. 3Kpa and an initial oxygen concentration of C=O. Area / Volume and Time Relationship
dC = K L a (C s C ) dt C s C = e K L at C s C o

As long as (A / V). t is the same, the aerator performance will remain the same. Therefore, A / V may be reduced without affecting performance as long as t is correspondingly increased, and vice versa.

Ventilation is an important factor in aerator design. For gas release, (eg. CO2 ) Cs should be kept as low as possible. This could be achieved by reducing the partial pressure in the atmosphere by expelling the gas from the atmosphere by ventilation. On the other hand, for addition of a gas, eg. O2, it is advantageous to have a closed tank under pressure, so that Cs is increased. Ventilation is also important from a safety point of view, when gases such as CO2, CH4, H2S are being removed.

[ Note: H2S is highly soluble CO2, NH3 are moderately soluble O2, H2, CH4, N2, ozone, air - are sparingly soluble]

H2S removal:
H2S is highly soluble in water, unlike CO2. Therefore, when aerated, CO2 is readily removed while H2S is not. H2S ionises in water as
H 2 S H + + HS HS H + + S

Thus, to get removal of H2S, H+ concentration should be higher so that the leftward reaction would take place. When CO2 is removed, the solution becomes less acidic. Therefore reaction goes--- ionising the H2S, making it dififcult to be removed. Therefore to achieve removal of H2S, aeration in 2 stages is necessary: 1) 2) Aerate in an atmosphere of high CO2 content, so that H2S will be removed. Then aerate under normal atmospheric condition to remove CO2.