The effects of coagulation-dissolved air flotation (DAF) process configuration was studied on oil refinery wastewater. The configuration was done in two ways: acid-coagulation-DAF (pre-treatment) and acid-DAF-coagulation (post-treatment). Two different cationic and polymeric organic coagulants were employed in this study to compare their treatability performance with the two aforementioned configurations. All the coagulants applied before the DAF were found to be effective, with over 85% more contaminant removal efficiency than their post-treatment. Alum, being the most cost-effective coagulant, was then employed with response surface methodology (RSM) to obtain the optimum conditions. These include a coagulant dosage of 100 mg/L, air saturator pressure of 375 kPa and air–water ratio of 10% vol/vol corresponding to a desirability of 92% for the removal of oily pollutants from a local South Africa oil refinery’s wastewater. With the response quadratic models that were developed, the optimum conditions were tested experimentally, which were consistent with the models predicted results at a 95% confidence level.
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