Characterization and utilization of water treatment sludge for coagulation of raw water

Kabelo Lebogang, Freeman Ntuli, Tumeletso Lekgoba, Vepika Kandjou, Mpho Tsie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


One of the critical steps in the treatment of raw water for human consumption is clarification. It encompasses coagulation and flocculation to reduce the concentration of suspended solids in turn producing a semi-solid slurry called water treatment sludge (WTS). It is necessary to characterize and find economic and sustainable ways to utilize the WTS. The WTS used in this work was characterized and contained aluminum (Al) (20.3% Al2O3) and iron (Fe) (5.28% Fe2O3) making it suitable for the development of a coagulant. A less energy-intensive way, through atmospheric acid leaching of WTS, was developed to extract Al and Fe for use as a coagulant. The sulphuric acid concentration and solid loading that gave the highest Al concentration were determined to be 3N and 5 g/100 mL, respectively. Turbidity reduction achieved with the developed coagulant ranged from 91 to 99% and was higher than that obtained in related studies due to the higher concentrations of Al and Fe in the WTS used in this study. Since the coagulant was very acidic, it was co-dosed with calcium oxide at 10 g/L of water to adjust the pH of the final water to allowable pH values for potable water (6.5–9.5).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1587-1599
Number of pages13
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • acid treatment
  • alumina coagulant
  • coagulation
  • leaching
  • water treatment sludge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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