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Bazer-Bachi, A., E. Puech-Coste, R. Ben Aim and J.L. Probst (1990). Mathematical modelling of optimal coagulant dose in water treatment plant. Rev. Sci. Eau, 3 (4) : 377-397. [article in french]

Original title : Modélisation mathématique du taux de coagulant dans une station de traitement d'eau.

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When the source of supply of a water treatment plant has a streaming behaviour, it is sometimes difficult to adjust correctly the coagulant dose by jar-testing alone.

Following this remark, the municipal water utilities of Toulouse city (France) has decided to conduct a study on the modelisation of coagulant dose as a function of the quality of raw water.

This study started first by a bibliographic survey to find the main parameters which affect the flocculation mechanisms, followed by a hydrologic study of the upper Garonne river to characterize as well as possible its behavior.

This was following by a study of the influence of certain parameters on the efficiency of coagulation by aluminium sulfate on synthetic waters having characteristics close to those of the Garonne river (BAZER-BACHI, 1986). This work showed the rote of the turbidity, of the resistivity, of the temperature and of the nature of mineral suspension. It also indicated the non-linearity between the optimum coagulant dose and these parameters as well as the interactions between them.

These conclusions led us to use a second degree polynomial model, as :

Data were collected from modified jar-test on water from the Garonne River, characterized by physico-chemical (turbidity, temperature, pH, resistivity, CEC, MES, colloid titralion, organic matters) and chemical analyses (mineralisation). As the hydrological study showed that the nature of colloid suspension changed only during storm events, the modelisation was divided in two sub-groups :
- a « CALME » model, comprising four variables (turbidity, resistivity, temperature, organic matters), for low turbidity waters (below 20 NTU),
- a « CRUES » a model, using a fifth parameter representative of the nature of suspension (the ratio between colloid titration and turbidity).

The « CALME » model, which fitted very well, showed the primordial influence of the temperature and organic matters, and then of the turbidity. Removal of resistivity was not advisable, as this parameter showed strong interactions with turbidity and organic matters (fig. 3, 4).

The « CRUES » model showed the primordial role of the turbidity followed by the temperature and then by organic matters. The two other parameters, less significant, should nevertheless be kept if a good quality of forecast is to be maintained with this model. It can be further improved once all the experimental domain has been investigated.

The very good results obtained in full-scale at the Clairfont plant, by adjusting the coagulant feed rate according to the forecast of our models, led us to implement a coagulation automate, in operation in 1989.


Coagulation, modelisation, aluminium sulfate, turbidity, resistivity, organic matters, colloid titration.

Corresponding author

Bazer-Bachi, A., Service des eaux de la Ville de Toulouse, Usine de Clairfont, RN 20, 31120 Porter/Garonne, France

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