Coagulant Change Over from Aluminum Sulfate to Poly Aluminum Chloride at a Conventional Water Treatment Plant.

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1 Coagulant Change Over from Aluminum Sulfate to Poly Aluminum Chloride at a Conventional Water Treatment Plant. Thomas S Elford Process Specialist City of Calgary Waterworks ABSTRACT: This paper describes the testing, implementation and interim results of a full-scale coagulant changeover from Aluminum Sulfate (Alum) to Poly Aluminum Chloride (PACL) at a large conventional water treatment plant. Research was conducted at The City of Calgary Water Treatment plant over the last several years to determine if a coagulant other than Alum would work better, especially in cold water conditions. Jar testing and pilot plant work conducted determined that the 18% Al 2 O 3 nonsulfated PACL would perform quite well. A final decision was made to begin a full-scale trial at one of The City of Calgary s large conventional water treatment plants. A one-year full-scale PACL trial, using existing infrastructure was initiated in December Water quality and operational data was used to determine the effectiveness of the PACL over the different seasons. This data and the design lessons and considerations of the changeover will be reported. INTRODUCTION: Aluminum Sulfate (Alum) is a well-known coagulant that has been in use at water treatment plants (WTP s) since the turn of the century. In the past Alum has worked very well to clarify the water but as water quality guidelines become more stringent, Alum is proving to be less effective. WTP s in Canada and those in colder climates are finding that Alum just does not give the clarification needed to produce high quality water. In the last 10 years, new highly manufactured coagulants called Poly Aluminum Chlorides (PACL s) have been making their way onto the markets, and recently they are finding wide acceptance in the water treatment industry. PACL s can be manufactured to produce a wide range of coagulants with different degrees of Al 2 O 3 content, basicity, sulfated or non-sulfated and some may include polymers to enhance coagulation to suit site-specific water needs. Background: The Glenmore WTP is a conventional sedimentation plant with dual media filtration rated at 450 ML/d. Coagulant, chlorine and fluoride are injected into a mechanical in-line rapid mixer followed by hydraulic flocculation. The water then flows into one of three 18-ML sedimentation basins with a retention time between 4 to 8 hours depending on the flow rate. After filtration the

2 water is post chlorinated and sent to a highly baffled 25-ML clearwell for CT requirements, and finally pumped out to the distribution system to be enjoyed by the citizens of Calgary. With water quality guidelines becoming increasingly more stringent The City of Calgary Waterworks decided after several years of jar testing and pilot work to do a full-scale trial using PACL as the primary coagulant, in its continual effort to optimize the plant performance. PACL is becoming more widely used as a coagulant and the manufacturer s claims are that it can deliver better cold water performance, lower particle counts, longer filter runs, and a reduction in the amount of sludge produced. Chemistry: The chemistry of PACL is quite different than liquid Alum. Alum is Aluminum Sulfate bonded to approximately 14 water molecules and has the formula Al 2 SO 4. 14H 2 O. When Alum is added to water, hydrolysis occurs forming several monomeric Alumna species including Al 3+, Al(OH) 2+, Al(OH) 4- before precipitating to the solid phase amorphous Aluminum hydroxide (Al[OH] 3(am) ). The intermediate species formed are highly dependent on water ph, temperature, available alkalinity and the nature of the inorganic and organic particles in the water. The fact that Alum needs to go through the hydrolysis reaction makes it very dependent on water ph, temperature and available alkalinity. The colder the water the more viscous the solution and the slower the reaction path, making Alum less effective in the winter time. PACL is pre-hydrolyzed meaning that Aluminum and chloride are combined with a solid or soluble base such as the (OH - ) molecule thus improving the performance characteristics of the coagulant. The intermediate species formed include the monomeric species of Alum and polymeric high charge Alumna species including Al 2 (OH) 2 4+, Al 3 (OH) 4 5+ and Al 13 O 4 (OH) Since PACL is pre-hydrolyzed, the high charged polymeric Alumna species are immediately available for coagulation and charge neutralization rather than being formed in situ as with Alum. Charge destabilization and floc formation are faster and PACL is less ph and temperature dependent than Alum. TESTING AND SELECTION: Jar Tests: When considering a coagulant or any chemical change or addition to the treatment plant, testing must be first carried out in the jar test to determine the suitability of the chemical to the plants specific water conditions and the varying operating seasons. The jar test must completely mimic plant conditions in order to evaluate the intended chemical properly. It is also a good idea to compare Alum to PACL in the jar tester, so that the evaluation can be a relative comparison of the effectiveness of the new chemical. Jar testing at the Glenmore Plant was modified to mimic a large sedimentation plant, a short high-speed rapid mix, followed by flocculation and settling. After settling, samples were collected from the middle of the jar approximately one centimeter below the surface. This

3 allowed comparison with the plant settled water turbidities to ensure the jar test closely followed what the main plant was doing. Comparing Alum with the various kinds of PACL s available on the market will help select which coagulant is best suited to your plant. The following graphs are representative of many tests illustrating the reduction in top of jar turbidities of Alum vs PACL during cold and warm water conditions. The coagulant dose that first gives a top of jar turbidity of around 1.0 ntu is considered the optimum dose. In Graph 1 the PACL best dose was at 30 mg/l which is half of the dose required if Alum was used at 60 mg/l. This is very typical of the results for 18% non-sulfated PACL in the cold water conditions. Graph 1: When using the 18% PACL it is cost comparative when the dose of PACL is half of what the dry weight equivalent (DWE) dose of Alum would be. As the water temperature warms up > 4 o C, Alum becomes more effective in treating the water. The dose gap between Alum and PACL narrows. Graph 2 shows Alum vs PACL jar test in warm water conditions > 4 o C. Alum is more effective in warmer water but PACL still requires a lower dose.

4 Graph 2: Pilot Work: Pilot work at The City of Calgary Water Treatment Plants consisted of testing on three different pilot plants over several years. One was a conventional sedimentation plant to mimic the main plant, one was a conventional sedimentation plant with tube settlers and deep bed filters and the last was a Dissolved Air Flotation plant with Ozone and deep bed filters. Also in 2002 a 2-month pilot evaluation of a ballasted flocculation process was also performed testing PACL as the coagulant. Throughout these tests, pilot plant testing was ongoing to determine the suitability through the various seasons. Pilot work is important to take the next step from jar testing. Where jar testing can help narrow the range of suitable coagulants, pilot work can give a plant confidence in the handling of the ongoing changes that can occur during a year. At the Glenmore water plant PACL out performed Alum, especially in the winter months. PACL gave lower settled water turbidity and with a decrease in the amount of chemical used, proved to be cost comparative to Alum. PACL performed very well in the summer months giving longer filter runs then Alum and allowed more flexibility in determining the optimum dose during changing raw water quality periods. PACL at slightly underdose or overdose situations still provided good filter water quality whereas Alum, the effects of an underdose or overdose situation were more prevalent. Results like this were important in making the decision to do a full-scale trial. Table 1 shows the main coagulants that were used in the pilot trials along with the costs of each chemical, the chemical strengths and technical specifications.

5 Table 1-Summary of Coagulants used in Pilot Trials PACl Cost /kg Al 3+ Equivalent Molar Concentration as compared to Alum Cost/kg of Molar Equivalent Technical Specs Alum ( 8% Al 2 O 3 sulfated) PACL (18% Al 2 O 3 nonsulfated) PACL (10% Al 2 O 3 sulfated) $0.15/kg 1, Al 3+ $0.15/kg S.G ph Basicity 28% $0.65/kg 2.17, Al 3+ $0.30/kg S.G ph <1.0 Basicity 42% $0.49/kg 1.24, Al 3+ $0.44/kg S.G ph <1.0 Basicity 55% Water Quality Goals: The main driver behind the coagulant switch was to increase plant performance to better meet our water quality goals. The primary set of water quality goals we were looking for in coagulant performance was enhanced settling to give lower top of filter turbidities, longer filter runs with lower finished and filtered water particle counts. With the ability to run the filters longer, fewer backwashes would be needed thus savings in water and power could be realized. A secondary set of water quality goals was determined as a possibility in a reduction in the finished water Aluminum residual content and a reduction in the sludge generation. In the water quality goal section, concerns about what changes a new product will bring to the process should also be raised. An example would be what effects the coagulant is going to have on ph. Once the water quality goals have been established, tracking the full-scale performance will allow for monthly determinations of the ability of the new product. Monthly reports that compare water quality data from using Alum of the previous year to PACL will allow the plant timely information about how the coagulant is really performing. At the end of the full-scale trial it will be known whether or not the coagulant had performed up to its claims. In the fullscale results section is an example of the monthly reports used at the Glenmore WTP. IMPLEMENTATION: When the final coagulant product was decided on the next phase was a one-year full-scale trail. In order to implement the change from Alum to PACL using existing infrastructure many factors must be considered.

6 Material Compatibility: The compatibility of the new product and the existing infrastructure needs to be closely looked at. Material compatibility sheets can easily be obtained from the supplier. In our case several stainless steel fittings and pressure gauges had to be replaced due to the corrosiveness of the new product. Along with infrastructure material compatibility one must look at chemical compatibility or incompatibility of the new product. When PACL and Alum are mixed a solid white gelatinous material forms. This gelatinous material could easily plug pipes and pumps causing serious problems. See Figure 1 in the section Cleaning and Flushing for illustration. Tank Cleaning: The Glenmore plant has two 330 m 3 concrete tanks lined with a soft PVC liner. Given the chemical incompatibility between Alum and PACL as described above, a good cleaning was recommended for the Glenmore coagulant storage tanks.. After draining the Alum from the tanks and sending in an inspection crew, it was found that insoluble material in the Alum solution had settled to the bottom of the tank and after 18 years of service it had formed a solid cement like crystalline material about 4 inches thick. This solid material could not be easily removed from the tank and it took two people with 8000-psi water wands a full day to break up the material. When the material was broken up small enough to be removed by a vacuum truck, it was found that the solid jagged Alum material had ripped numerous small holes in the liner. A new liner was ordered for replacement at a cost of $100, It was a good thing that the liner was near its life expectancy and scheduled to be replaced soon. The obvious recommendation from this experience is that the best plan to deal with the storage tanks is to actually plan and budget to replace the liner, rather than trying to cut costs by avoiding this important step. The Alum crystalline solid material that had been broken up by high pressure water wands and removed by a vacuum truck was now a very acidic solution with solid material. The material was disposed of in holding lagoons at the City landfill and partially neutralized with calcium carbonate. Pumps: When switching from liquid Alum to liquid PACL you will see a drop in the amount of coagulant used so it is necessary to ensure that the pump curves will match the expected dose range. The expected drop can be as much as half the amount of liquid Alum required to give the same dose. For example if Alum (expressed as 49% active ingredient) is being used and the flow rate is 100 ML/d and the required dose is 10 mg/l, what is the pump flow rate in L/min?

7 Q pump = Dose x DWE factor x Q plant Specific Gravity Dose = 10mg/L =0.010 g/l DWE factor = Dry Weight Equivalent factor = 100/49 = 2.04 Q plant = Plant flow rate = 100 ML/day = 100,000,000 L/day = L/minute Specific Gravity = 1.33 g/cm 3 = 1.33 g/ml = 1330 g/l Q pump = g/l x 2.04 x L/minute = L/minute 1330 g/l If we wanted to find the same pump flow rate using PACL that is expressed as 100% active ingredient with a Specific Gravity of 1.37, we see that the volume used will be approximately half of Alum. Q pump = Dose x DWE factor x Q plant Specific Gravity Dose = 10mg/L =0.010 g/l DWE factor = Dry Weight Equivalent factor = 100/100 = 1 Q plant = Plant flow rate = 100 ML/day = 100,000,000 L/day = L/minute Specific Gravity = 1.37 g/cm 3 = 1.37 g/ml = 1370 g/l Q pump = g/l x 1 x L/minute 1370 g/l = L/minute Piping: The size of the piping must also be considered to ensure proper velocity over the expected dosing ranges. At The City of Calgary the Alum pumps were located by the Alum tanks, which are approximately 500 feet from the Rapid Mix Building. The old Alum system used carrier water from the pumps to the Rapid Mixer and so the resulting piping was 2 and 3 inches in diameter. The PACL coagulant was to be used with out carrier water so new 1 inch piping needed to be run to accommodate the change. Included in the new one-inch line at the high points were air relief valves to prevent air lock when charging the new line. Cleaning and Flushing: All lines and pumps must be flushed thoroughly to ensure that no Alum is left in the system. When Alum and PACL are combined together, it will form a white gelatinous solid that will plug off the lines and the pumps. Flushing of pumps and lines should proceed for two full days to

8 make sure no Alum was left in the system. If at all possible the coordination of the cleaning of the pumps and piping should be done at the same time the plant is taken down for cleaning and or sludge removal. The diluted Alum can be discharged either to sanitary or wasted into the process (only if there are no negative effects in our case, this was acceptable since the plant was shutdown and the filters were filtering-to-waste). Figure 1- White solid formed when Alum and PACL mixed together. Injection Point: The use of carrier water to transport the PACL from the chemical pumps to the injection point is strongly discouraged. The use of carrier water over long distances will result in the coagulant becoming dilute and the coagulation reaction will be taking place in the piping and not in the raw water. The coagulant will become less effective in the treatment process. At the Rapid Mixer the neat PACL is mixed with plant service water at the moment it is about to be injected into the Rapid Mixer to increase the velocity of the coagulant. A three-inch Hastaloy B diffuser pipe spans the width of the Raw water Header. The pipe has holes drilled into it along its length at different points of its circumference. This helps with insuring that the coagulant is

9 dispersed across the width of the raw water header and is properly mixed. Figure 2 shows the new injection system designed for this project. PACL line Plant Service Water line Figure 2-Coagulant Injection System into Rapid Mixer. Chemical Delivery: With the implementation of a new coagulant, it is a good time to look at the existing delivery procedures and update them as necessary to current best practices. At Glenmore WTP, there were opportunities to improve the procedures to increase quality assurance and control prior to off-loading. The safety and convenience of plant personnel in handling chemicals was also a paramount consideration that required updating. Delivery trucks are now required to call Operations one hour before arriving at the Glenmore WTP. This allows Operators the necessary time to prepare for a delivery. All personal coming onto the plant site must sign in and receive a visitors badge. When the driver is onsite and ready to unload they are informed of the sites hazards and evacuation procedures along with a short safety orientation and whereabouts of spill kits and safety showers. When the coagulant is ready to be unloaded into the tank a sample from the truck is taken and ph and specific gravity test are

10 preformed as a quality control step. When the chemical has passed the quality control tests, only then is the driver permitted to unload the chemical. Start Up of the New Coagulant System: Standard Operating Procedures (SOP s) for the new coagulant should be revised and updated to reflect the changes to the system. The SOP s should be reviewed and discussed with plant operations and all stakeholders for their comments and feedback. Once finalized, all staff will require training on the new systems and procedures. In addition, new forms may be required and those need to be properly rolled-out as well. When starting up the WTP with a new coagulant, it should be done after the plant or parts of the plant have been taken off line for cleaning. It is best to bring the plant up slowly to allow for the basins and filters to be turned over slowly to the new coagulant. All project staff that were involved in the design, planning, construction, and documentation of the coagulant changeover need to be on-site and available to the project on a quick-response basis during the initial day and weeks of using a new coagulant. Undoubtedly things will arise that were not considered and qualified staff needs to be on-hand to address all issues to ensure continued water production. FULL SCALE RESULTS: A brief overview of the full-scale evaluation of a coagulant changeover from Alum to PACL at the Glenmore WTP is shown in Table 2 below. Table 3 shows an example of a monthly report used at the Glenmore WTP. The data for these tables were supplied by Laboratory Services. The Alum data is from the calendar year 2002, and the PACL data is from the test period January 2003 to August The data is discussed season-by-season in the following sections. Any utility considering this type of coagulant changeover should have their measurement criteria in place before making the changeover, so they are prepared to gauge the difference in operation. Table 2-Overview of Results from Glenmore Evaluation. Parameter Winter Spring Summer Average Alum PACL Alum PACL Alum PACL Effluent Particle Counts (Counts/mL >2µm) Effluent Turbidity (ntu) Settled Water Turbidity (ntu) % TOC Reduction (mg/l) Effluent Aluminum Residual (ppb)

11 Table 3-Monthly Reports used at Glenmore WTP. January Data Comparisons Alum 2002 vs. PACL 2003 Parameter Alum PACL Jan 2002 Jan 2003 Data Source Avg Filter Run Times (hrs) PI Avg Filter Effluent Turbidity (ntu) PI Avg Filter Effluent Particle Counts (>2 NP/mL) 16 2 PI Avg Plant Effluent Turbidity (ntu) PI Avg Plant Effluent Particle Counts (>2 NP/mL) 16 5 PI Avg 33 Plant Settled Water Turbidity (ntu) PI Avg 57 Plant Settled Water Turbidity (ntu) PI Avg 65 Plant Settled Water Turbidity (ntu) PI Avg Effluent Aluminum Residuals (ppb) LIMS Avg Raw TOC (mg/l) LIMS Avg Effluent TOC (mg/l) LIMS Percent TOC Reduction (%) Calculated Avg Raw ph Monthly Reports Avg South ph Monthly Reports Avg Raw Turbidity (ntu) Monthly Reports Avg Effluent Turbidity (ntu) Monthly Reports Total Monthly Raw water volume (ML) Monthly Reports Avg Raw water volume Daily (ML) Monthly Reports Total Effluent Water volume (ML) Monthly Reports Avg Effluent Water volume Daily (ML) Monthly Reports Total Monthly Wash water usage (ML) Monthly Reports Avg Daily Wash water volume (ML) Monthly Reports Wash water % of production Monthly Reports Avg Coagulant Dose (mg/l) Monthly Reports Avg Coagulant kg used Monthly Reports Total Monthly Coagulant kg used Monthly Reports Total Monthly Filter Effluent Volume (ML) Monthly Reports Discussion of Winter Results: Water conditions for the winter season are classified as temperature < 4 o C, Turbidity < 1.0 ntu, and Total Organic Carbon < 2.0 mg/l. During this time the plant ran at a PACL dose of 3 mg/l compared to last year Alum dose of 6 mg/l (DWE) or 12 mg/l liquid Alum. When the plant can cut the PACL dose in half of the DWE dose of Alum, the PACL costs about the same as Alum. The Aluminum residuals were comparable, with the PACL results slightly higher. With PACL you will be using less product and so ph depression will be less as compared to Alum. Lower particle counts on the filter effluent and finished water was observed. With Alum the counts averaged around 20 counts/ml >2µm and with PACL we were consistently below 5 counts/ml

12 >2µm. The PACL allowed for longer filter runs so less backwash water was used during the winter season. Operational requirements prevented the implementation of longer filter runs in the summer months, more so due to predictable washing requirements rather than the quality of the filter effluents. It is strongly suspected that longer runs could be handled in the summer, and this will be investigated further next year if the PACL coagulant remains in usage. Discussion of Spring Results: Spring conditions are when the snow starts to melt at the end of March to the end of April or Middle of May. During this time the water temperature is slowly warming up but is still less than 4 o C with turbidity less than 5 ntu. At this time the plant usually experiences a sharp increase in TOC up to approximately 5 mg/l. PACL performed very well with lower particle counts < 5 counts/ml > 2µm in the filtered and finished water. Settled water turbidities remained just below 1.0 ntu as compared to last year with Alum the turbidities were 1.8 ntu. Discussion of Summer Results: Summer is the time the plant generally experiences runoff from the mountains. The snow in the mountains finally all melts and a large amount of water with silt and clay come into the plant. This is the time when we were looking for the PACL to really excel and demonstrate it s usefulness to the Glenmore WTP. Unfortunately, the Glenmore WTP did not see any runoff this year and we did not see turbidities above 4.0 ntu. Operations were glad this was the case, but the coagulant changeover research team was very disappointed by the missed opportunity to demonstrate the suspected usefulness of PACL in summer operation under heavier turbidity conditions. CONCLUSION: When a proposed plan for a coagulant study is first brought forward, the project can only be successful with a thorough plan that involves all the proper stakeholders. The following suggestions are offered to ensure success in the implementation of a coagulant changeover. First, an objective for water quality goals should be determined so that the specific goals of the coagulants can be judged. A testing plan must be formalized to determine which chemical is best suited to the specific water. With the aid of jar testing and pilot plant work (if possible), the most suitable product can be determined. Once the chemical has been chosen, a detailed plan should be made to determine the suitability of the existing infrastructure. Material compatibility (very important), the size of the pumps and pipes,

13 suitability of the existing coagulant tanks, cleaning and flushing of the pumps, pipes and tanks, disposal of waste materials, chemical delivery methods (injection and mixing into the process stream) project documentation including drawings, operation philosophies, and standard operating procedures, development of chemical delivery programs that reflect best practices, and staff training and communication (also very important) With the aid of detailed monthly reports the performance of the coagulant can be monitored closely. In summary there are likely a number of coagulant products available to any WTP that will work, the challenge for the staff at any given facility is to find the one which best suits the water being treated and the production restraints that exist at that WTP (infrastructure and price). References: American Water Works Association. (1984) Basic Science Concepts and Applications, Principles and Practices of Water Supply Operations, pp DeWolfe, James R. (Correspondance, ), McGuire Environmental Consultants. Exall, Kirsten N, Vanloon. Gary W, (Nov. 2000) Using Coagulants to Remove Organic Matter, AWWA J., Vol. 92, No.11, pp MacLeod, B.W, Simpson, M.R, Zimmerman, J.A. (1993) Developing Performance-Based Bid Specifications for Selected Water Treatment Chemicals. Presented at the Florida Water Resources Conference. Pernitsky, David J. (2003). Optimizing Coagulation Chemistry for Turbidity and Organic Carbon Removal. Associated Engineering conference, Calgary Alberta. Ravina, Louis. (1993) Every thing you want to know about Coagulation and Flocculation, Zeta Meter Inc. Kawamura, Susumu. (2000) Integrated Design and Operation of Water Treatment Facilities, Sec. Ed. John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

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