Low molecular weight (MW) charged organic matter is poorly removed by conventional coagulants but contributes to disinfection byproduct formation during chlorination of drinking waters. We hypothesized that CIEX, a new Al-based hybrid coagulant with ion-exchange functional groups, would be new mechanistic approach to remove low MW organic matter during coagulation and would perform better than polyaluminum chloride (PACl) or metal-salt based coagulants. We measured coagulation performance using dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in a high hardness surface water. CIEX achieved excellent turbidity removal and removed 20% to 46% more DOC than FeCl3, Al2(SO4)3, or PACl, depending on dose. The improved DOC removal was attributable to better removal of low MW organic matter (<2 kDa). We further studied removal mechanisms in a model water containing a low MW organic acid (salicylic acid (SA)). CIEX achieved high removal of organic acids (>90% of SA) independent of pH, whereas removal by metal salts was lower (<15%) and was strongly pH dependent. CIEX ion-exchange capability is facilitated by its covalently bound quaternary ammonium group, which conventional coagulants lack. Plus, unlike other cationic polymers that react with chloramines to form N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), CIEX has a low molar yield (9.3 × 10-7 mol NDMA per mol CIEX-N). (Chemical Equation Presented).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3897-3904
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 5 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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