Natural organic matter (NOM) in drinking water supplies significantly impacts on water supply quality and treatment, due to observed reactivity with many dissolved and particulate species. Several technologies are used nowadays to remove NOM from the water supply. The evolution of water-related directives, and progressively more restrictive standards for drinking water, however, call for the investigation of advanced, more efficient, and cost-effective water treatment processes. This paper contains a brief overview on the state-of-the-art methods for NOM removal from supply waters, and describes the experimental application of an advanced technology, tested and validated at the pilot scale on the water supply source of a town in Poland. The process allowed significant removal of natural organic matter (about 50% as Dissolved Organic Carbon) and turbidity (from 50% to 90%), however, these results requested significant additions of powdered activated carbon. The key to success of this type of process is a correct setup with the identification of optimal types and dosages of reagents. Based on the results of the tests conducted it is foreseeable that this technology could be used onsite, not only for removal of NOM, but also of other hard-to-tackle pollutants potentially contained in the freshwater supply and not presently considered.
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