Combined coagulation and ultrafiltration process to counteract increasing NOM in brown surface water

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Membrane hybrid processes-coagulation coupled with ultrafiltration (UF)-have become a common method to comply with the legal, chemical, and microbiological requirements for drinking water. The main advantages of integrating coagulation with membrane filtration are the enhanced removal of natural organic matter (NOM) and reduced membrane fouling. With in-line coagulation, coagulants are patched into the feed stream directly prior to the membrane process, without removing the coagulated solids. Compared with conventional coagulation/sedimentation, in-line coagulation/membrane reduces the treatment time and footprint. Coagulant dosing could be challenging in raw water of varying quality; however, with relatively stable specific ultraviolet absorbance (SUVA), dosing can be controlled. Recent studies indicate that UV absorbance correlates well with humic substances (HS), the major fraction to be removed during coagulation. This paper describes and evaluates a 30-month UF pilot trial on the surface water of Lake Neden (Sweden), providing drinking water to 60,000 residents. In this study, automatic coagulant dosing based on online measurement was successfully applied. Online sensor data were used to identify the current optimal aluminium coagulation conditions (0.5-0.7 mg L-1) and the potential boundaries (0.9-1.2 mg L-1) for efficient future (2040) NOM removal. The potential increase in NOM could affect the Al dose and drinking water quality significantly within 20 years, should the current trends in dissolved organic carbon (DOC) prevail. UV absorbance, the freshness index, and liquid chromatography-organic carbon detection (LC-OCD) measurements were used to optimise the process. Careful cross-calibration of raw and filtered samples is recommended when using online sensor data for process optimisation, even in low-turbidity water (formazin nephelometric unit (FNU) < 5).


External organisations
  • Vatten och Miljö i Väst AB (VIVAB)
  • Sweden Water Research AB
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • DHI Denmark
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Water Engineering


  • Coagulation, Hollow fibre, Natural organic matter (NOM), Optical sensors, Ultrafiltration
Original languageEnglish
Article number697
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sep 13
Publication categoryResearch

Related research output

Alexander Keucken, 2017, 1 ed. Lund: Water Resources Engineering, Lund University. 321 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

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