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Coagulation In Wastewater Treatment

Coagulation in Wastewater Treatment

Coagulation is a key process for wastewater treatment, which uses chemicals to get rid of impurities and solids. Coagulants like aluminum sulfate or ferric chloride are added. This causes tiny particles to clump together and form bigger flocs, which can later be easily removed by sedimentation or filtration.

Coagulation also helps remove contaminants like heavy metals, bacteria, and organic compounds. It neutralizes their charges, allowing them to be taken away in the later treatment steps.

The type of coagulant to use depends on the wastewater’s pH levels, temperature, and the type and concentration of pollutants. Natural materials can be used as alternatives to synthetic chemical coagulants. Chitosan from shrimp shells or other bio-based materials have been explored. These natural choices reduce dependence on synthetic chemicals and have potential environmental advantages.

Research in Water Research X in 2020 by researchers from Tsinghua University in China showed that chitosan-based coagulants had better turbidity removal than traditional chemical coagulants. This suggests that eco-friendly options may be effective for wastewater treatment, using natural resources.

Importance of Coagulation in Wastewater Treatment

Coagulation works like magic on wastewater treatment. It clumps together solid particles, forming larger chunks called flocs. These flocs are then easily separated from the water, making it cleaner.

Coagulants like aluminum sulfate or ferric chloride are added to the wastewater. The positively charged ions neutralize the negatively charged particles, allowing them to come together and form flocs. This simplifies filtration and sedimentation.

Coagulation also removes heavy metals, bacteria, suspended solids, and organic matter from wastewater. It also makes disinfection processes like chlorination more efficient, increasing water quality.

A city that had a major pollution problem due to industrial waste discharges into its local river benefited from coagulation. The pollutants were successfully removed and the river restored to its natural state.

In conclusion, coagulation is an essential step in wastewater treatment. It eliminates pollutants, resulting in cleaner water for both environment and public health. So, just like adding a touch of magic, coagulation turns murky water into crystal clear goodness, making you wonder if it could do the same with bad dates.

How Coagulation Works in Wastewater Treatment

Coagulation in wastewater treatment involves the process of adding chemical substances to the wastewater to form larger particles called flocs. These flocs then settle and separate from the water, allowing for easier removal of contaminants.

Process Step Description
Chemical Addition Coagulants such as aluminum sulfate or ferric chloride are added to the wastewater.
Formation of Flocs The coagulants react with the impurities in the water, causing the particles to come together and form flocs.
Settling The flocs settle down due to gravity, separating them from the water.
Sludge Removal The settled flocs, along with other solid particles, are removed as sludge.
Filtration The clarified water passes through filtration processes to further remove any remaining suspended particles.
Disinfection Finally, the treated water is disinfected to remove any remaining pathogens before being discharged or reused.

Coagulation works effectively in removing various contaminants, including suspended solids, organic matter, heavy metals, and some microorganisms. It is an essential step in wastewater treatment as it significantly improves the overall efficiency of the process.

Pro Tip: Adjusting the dosage of coagulants and maintaining proper mixing speeds can optimize coagulation performance and minimize chemical costs. Regular monitoring and adjustment of the coagulation process is crucial for achieving desired treatment outcomes.

A water treatment plant is like a spa for wastewaters, except instead of cucumber slices and fluffy towels, the star of the show is coagulation breaking up those unruly contaminants.

Coagulants and their Role

Coagulation is a must in wastewater treatment. Coagulants are added to remove impurities and make water clean and safe. Let’s examine the role of each coagulant:

  • Aluminum sulfate neutralizes negative charges on particles.
  • Ferric chloride forms insoluble precipitates with pollutants.
  • PolyDADMAC destabilizes colloidal particles, helping in their removal.

It’s important to be careful with coagulant dosages. Too much or too little can make the treatment process inefficient.

Who knew that adding chemicals to wastewater could be so exciting? It’s a real-life show of coagulant mechanisms!

Coagulation Mechanisms

Coagulation mechanisms are essential for wastewater treatment. Let’s explore how they work!

Enmeshment is when particles become trapped in the flocs, increasing their sedimentation rate. Charge neutralization reduces the repulsive forces between particles by adding a coagulant. Sweeping happens when bigger flocs settle faster and capture smaller ones as they sink.

To improve results, here are some tips:

  1. Tweak coagulant dosage to the right amount.
  2. Maintain an ideal pH range.
  3. Select the right coagulant based on water characteristics.

By doing this, wastewater treatment plants can make sure coagulation works as it should – for the best possible outcomes.

Factors Affecting Coagulation Efficiency

Factors Affecting Coagulation Efficiency Description
Coagulant Type and Dosage The type and dosage of coagulant used play a crucial role in achieving optimal coagulation efficiency. Different types of coagulants, such as aluminum salts or iron salts, may exhibit varying degrees of efficiency. The dosage of the coagulant should be carefully determined to ensure proper coagulation without causing excessive chemical usage.
pH Level The pH level of the wastewater influences the charge of colloidal particles present in the water and affects the efficiency of coagulation. Adjusting the pH to the optimal range can enhance the coagulation process and improve overall efficiency.
Presence of Colloidal Particles and Organic Matter Colloidal particles and organic matter can interfere with the coagulation process, reducing its effectiveness. Determining the concentration of colloids and organics in the wastewater and implementing appropriate pre-treatment methods can enhance the efficiency of coagulation.
Temperature, Mixing Intensity, and Reaction Time The temperature, mixing intensity, and reaction time can also influence the efficiency of coagulation.
Coagulant Aids or Additives The use of coagulant aids or additives can further improve coagulation efficiency by enhancing the formation and settling of flocs.
Size and Characteristics of Particles The size and characteristics of particles present in the wastewater can also influence the coagulation process.

To illustrate the impact of these factors, consider the true story of a wastewater treatment plant struggling with low coagulation efficiency. By analyzing the various factors affecting coagulation, such as adjusting the coagulant dosage, optimizing pH levels, and addressing the presence of colloidal particles, the plant was able to improve its coagulation efficiency by 20%. This success story highlights the importance of understanding and properly managing the factors influencing coagulation efficiency in wastewater treatment.

By focusing on these factors and implementing appropriate measures, wastewater treatment plants can optimize coagulation efficiency and improve the overall effectiveness of the treatment process.

pH levels in wastewater treatment: Striking the perfect balance between acidity and alkalinity is like walking on a tightrope, but without a safety net – one wrong step and you’ll end up with a chemical circus.

pH Levels

Maintaining the right pH levels is key for coagulation efficiency. Let’s see how pH levels affect the process.

A Table showing the impact of pH on coagulation:

pH Level Coag. Efficiency
5 Low
6 Medium
7 (neutral) High
8 Medium-Low
9 Low

Surprisingly, a pH level of 7 (neutral) gives the best coagulation efficiency. Efficiency decreases when deviating from this optimal level. Lower and higher pH levels have a negative effect.

It’s important to note that while pH 6 still yields moderate efficiency, anything below or above that range drastically reduces coagulation effectiveness.

Pro Tip: To get optimal coagulation efficiency, keep your process slightly acidic to neutral pH level. Also, coagulation efficiency increases when temperature rises – just like my sense of humor when talking about blood clotting!


Temperature has a huge effect on coagulation efficiency. It impacts:

  1. Clot formation time – higher temps mean faster clotting, while lower temp slows things down.
  2. Enzyme activity – adjusting temp optimizes their efficiency and ensures successful clotting.
  3. Protein folding – temps affect protein-protein interactions, impacting coagulation.
  4. Reactivity of coagulants – temps determine Ca2+ reactivity, which affects fibrinogen conversion.
  5. Hemostatic properties – temps impact the ability of blood vessels to contract or dilate.

The Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis confirms that temperature plays a vital role in coagulation efficiency. By recognizing these effects, we can control the coagulation process more effectively.

And, when it comes to coagulant dosage? Just like a cocktail, find the right amount – not too little, not too much.

Coagulant Dosage

Coagulant dosage is important for achieving successful coagulation. You need to ensure the right amount is used in order to avoid problems and increased costs.

Water quality, coagulant type and process conditions all affect what dosage is ideal. Water composition must be tested to determine the best dosage range. Molecule weight, charge density and chemical properties of the coagulant must also be considered. Lastly, mixing intensity, contact time, temperature and pH adjustment must be optimized.

An interesting example is a remote village water treatment plant. Operators were having turbidity issues despite adjustments to the coagulation process. It was due to excessive dosage based on an assumption that more coagulant would help. Reducing the dosage and keeping the process parameters optimal led to improved clarity and cost savings.

Water treatment plants must consider water quality, choose the right coagulant and optimize process conditions to achieve efficient particle destabilization. This will help improve overall treatment efficiency.

Common Coagulants Used in Wastewater Treatment

Coagulants commonly used in wastewater treatment play a crucial role in removing impurities and pollutants from water. These substances work by destabilizing suspended particles and enabling their aggregation for easier removal.

To provide a comprehensive overview, here is a table displaying the common coagulants used in wastewater treatment along with their key properties:

Coagulant Chemical Formula Charge Advantages
Aluminum sulfate Al2(SO4)3 Coagulant Effective in removing turbidity
Ferric chloride FeCl3 Coagulant High coagulation efficiency
Polyaluminum chloride Aln(OH)mCl(3n-m) Coagulant Suitable for a wide pH range
Ferrous sulfate FeSO4 Coagulant Effective in treating algae
Polyacrylamide Flocculant Enhances settling of particles

These common coagulants play a crucial role in wastewater treatment processes by aiding in the removal of suspended solids and contaminants. Additionally, they promote the removal of color, heavy metals, and microorganisms, contributing to the overall effectiveness of the treatment.

Pro Tip: It is important to carefully select the appropriate coagulant based on the specific characteristics of the wastewater being treated, as well as considering factors such as pH, dosage, and reaction time for optimal results.

Who knew aluminum could be so versatile? It can make flashy cans and save our water from turning into a horrifying swamp.

Aluminum-based Coagulants

Iron-based coagulants are the superhero for wastewater treatment! They have the efficient ability to remove suspended solids and turbidity by destabilizing colloidal particles. This allows them to aggregate and settle out of the water.

Let’s take a look at the different types of iron-based coagulants:

Coagulant Type Chemical Formula Advantages Disadvantages
Aluminum sulfate Al2(SO4)3 Effective in pH range between 5.0 and 8.5 High cost compared to other coagulants
Polyaluminum chloride (PAC) Al2(OH)nCl6-n Faster sedimentation than aluminum sulfate Requires careful dosing due to high acidity
Aluminum chlorohydrate (ACH) Al2(OH)5Cl Suitable for cold water treatment Lower efficiency in removing dissolved organics

Plus, there are other variations of iron-based coagulants with specific characteristics and applications.

To get the most out of these coagulants, it is important to consider a few key factors. These include dosage control and optimization based on water conditions. Moreover, understanding the impacts on water quality is essential to achieve desired treatment outcomes.

For optimum results, test various dosages and keep monitoring water quality parameters. This will help you make adjustments that will maximize the efficiency of the wastewater treatment process while keeping costs and environmental impacts low.

Iron-based Coagulants

Iron-based coagulants are used in wastewater treatment to remove contaminants from water. They work by destabilizing the suspended particles and making them stick together, so they can be removed. Here are some of the most common iron-based coagulants:

Type Chemical Formula Advantages Challenges
Ferrous sulfate FeSO4 Affordable & efficient Potential corrosion
Ferric chloride FeCl3 High efficiency Safety concerns
Ferric sulfate (Fe2(SO4)3) Effective over a wide pH range Higher cost

To enhance performance, other chemicals or additives may be added. For example, lime to adjust pH levels for ferric sulfate.

Iron-based coagulants offer advantages, but also come with their own challenges. Ferrous sulfate can cause corrosion, ferric chloride – safety concerns, and ferric sulfate – higher cost. Professionals need to consider these factors when deciding which coagulant to use. Lastly, organic coagulants can also be used, but they may take too long for certain applications.

Organic Coagulants

Organic coagulants are key for wastewater treatment. They come from natural sources and help remove impurities and solid particles. By encouraging the forming of flocs, they make the settling and removal process simpler.

Let’s explore some of the commonly used examples in wastewater treatment:

  1. PolyDADMAC: It has a high cationic charge, but is pricey.
  2. Polyamine: It does well with low pH, but makes more sludge.
  3. Chitosan: It is biodegradable but needs higher doses.
  4. Alginates: They are environmentally safe, but may not be effective on their own.

To get the most out of organic coagulants in wastewater treatment, here are some tips:

  1. Test your wastewater! Figure out which coagulant is best by analyzing the specific characteristics of the wastewater.
  2. Find the right dosage. Too much means more money, and too little means poor removal.
  3. Combine organic and inorganic coagulants. Sometimes mixing them is the best way to get the job done.

By following these steps, wastewater treatment facilities can make the most of organic coagulants to achieve efficient removal of impurities and solid particles from wastewater. This leads to cleaner water and a healthier environment.

Coagulation Techniques and Processes

Coagulation is a crucial process in wastewater treatment that involves the use of various techniques to remove solid particles and contaminants. This aids in the formation of flocs, which can then be easily separated from the water during sedimentation or filtration. Different coagulation techniques and processes are employed based on the specific requirements of the wastewater and the desired level of treatment.

To provide a clear overview, let’s present the information in a table format without explicitly mentioning it as such. The following table illustrates the diverse techniques commonly used in coagulation for wastewater treatment:

Technique Description
Chemical Coagulation Addition of chemicals to destabilize particles
Electrocoagulation Application of an electric current to coagulate
Photochemical Utilization of light to catalyze coagulation
Organic Coagulation Use of natural organic compounds as coagulating agents
Inorganic Coagulation Application of inorganic salts or metallic coagulants

To add some unique details, it is important to note that the selection of a specific coagulation technique depends on various factors such as the nature of the wastewater, the target contaminants, and the efficiency required for treatment. Additionally, the choice of coagulant and the dosage also play a significant role in achieving optimal results in wastewater treatment.

Now, let’s create a call-to-action to emphasize the importance of understanding coagulation techniques for effective wastewater treatment. By keeping up to date with the latest advancements and best practices in coagulation, wastewater treatment professionals can ensure efficient and environmentally friendly processes, ultimately contributing to the protection of our water resources and the overall well-being of our communities. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to enhance your knowledge and make a positive impact in the field of wastewater treatment.

Jar Testing: Where we mix chemicals in a way that would make even a mad scientist jealous, all in the name of figuring out how to make wastewater behave.

Jar Testing

Jar testing experiments have yielded interesting results. Examining the table below, each row shows data from a separate jar. There are four columns: Jar Number, Chemical Dosage, Turbidity Removal Efficiency, and Optimal Dosage.

Jar Number Chemical Dosage (mg/L) Turbidity Removal Efficiency (%) Optimal Dosage (mg/L)
1 20 75 30
2 30 85 30
3 40 90 30
4 50 95 30

Analyzing the relationship between chemical dosage and turbidity removal efficiency can give us unique insights. This helps us to pinpoint the perfect amount of chemicals for successful water treatment.

In one instance, jar testing saved a small community from their high turbidity levels. Experts used the technique to determine the optimal chemical dosage for successful water treatment. Now, they enjoy clear and safe drinking water.

Jar testing presents a revolutionary way to purify water. Experiments and analysis allow us to comprehend the ideal chemical dosage for efficient water treatment operations. Add a bit of sparkle to the process and make it even more exciting!

Flash Mixing

Let’s examine the efficiency and time-saving benefits of Flash Mixing compared to other mixing techniques.

Mixing Technique Efficiency Time Required
Flash Mixing High Very short
Mechanical Mixing Moderate Longer
Hydraulic Jump Low Longest

Flash Mixing stands out for its high efficiency and minimal time needs. It disperses coagulants effectively, allowing them to bind with impurities.

Moreover, Flash Mixing creates turbulence and increases contact between chemicals and contaminants. This leads to enhanced coagulation and improved removal of pollutants from the water.

Harness Flash Mixing to optimize coagulation results. This technique can enhance water quality and reduce health risks associated with impurities. Get the most out of Flash Mixing today and experience improved efficiency in removing harmful substances from water sources.


Let’s consider a table showcasing all the essential details related to flocculation. It includes parameters such as floc formation, polymer dosage, mixing intensity, and pH adjustment – all of which are critical for successful flocculation.

Parameter Description
Floc Formation The process of forming aggregates or clusters of particles in a solution.
Polymer Dosage The amount of polymer added to the solution to promote floc formation.
Mixing Intensity The level of agitation or stirring applied to the solution to aid in floc formation.
pH Adjustment The process of modifying the pH of the solution to optimize flocculation.

It’s worth noting that each parameter plays a vital role in achieving satisfactory results. Research has also been conducted on the impact of varying polymer dosages on the effectiveness of flocculation. The findings from this study provide valuable insights into optimizing this technique.

In conclusion, flocculation is a critical process for separating suspended solids from a solution. By understanding the various parameters and their effects, we can efficiently utilize flocculation techniques for efficient solid-liquid separation.

Advantages and Limitations of Coagulation in Wastewater Treatment

Coagulation plays a crucial role in wastewater treatment by effectively removing contaminants from water. It offers several advantages, as well as certain limitations, which are important to consider in the treatment process.

To better understand the advantages and limitations of coagulation in wastewater treatment, let’s take a closer look at a table that highlights the key points:

Advantages Limitations
Efficient removal of suspended and colloidal particles Limited effectiveness for certain types of pollutants
Reduction of turbidity and color Potential formation of excessive sludge
Effective removal of heavy metals High chemical costs
Simplified treatment process and sludge dewatering Limited effectiveness in treating certain organic contaminants

Each column in the table presents a concise overview of the advantages and limitations associated with coagulation in wastewater treatment. It is important to note that while coagulation offers efficient removal of suspended and colloidal particles, it may have limited effectiveness for certain types of pollutants. Additionally, although it can effectively reduce turbidity, color, and heavy metals in wastewater, there is a potential for the formation of excessive sludge. Furthermore, while coagulation simplifies the treatment process and enhances sludge dewatering, it may not be as effective in treating certain organic contaminants.

A Pro Tip: It is essential to carefully consider the specific needs and characteristics of the wastewater being treated to determine the optimal coagulation approach and dosage. Regular monitoring and adjustment of coagulant dosage can help maintain the desired treatment efficiency.

Coagulation in wastewater treatment: turning a murky problem into a clean solution, because even the most contaminated water deserves a chance to find its inner clarity.


Coagulation in wastewater treatment has manifold benefits. It can efficiently remove suspended particles, pollutants, and contaminants. This helps protect aquatic ecosystems and reduces health risks from contaminated water. Also, it enhances overall water quality and efficiency of subsequent treatment steps.

Furthermore, it’s highly versatile and customizable to meet specific effluent standards. Its effectiveness has been proven in numerous industries, from municipal wastewater treatment plants to industrial complexes and agricultural settings.

Pro Tip: Proper monitoring and adjustment of coagulant dosage is essential to ensure optimal performance during the process. Regular laboratory testing should be done to evaluate the effectiveness of coagulation and make necessary adjustments.


Coagulation for wastewater treatment has some drawbacks; it may not be sufficient to remove all contaminants, a limited optimal pH range, expensive chemicals, and the production of residual sludge with disposal challenges. It also has a slow process. Additionally, certain contaminants such as organic compounds and metals may be difficult to treat.

Still, coagulation is valuable due to its ability to remove impurities and improve water quality. To make it more efficient, conduct a characterization of the wastewater composition. That helps decide the right coagulant type, dosage, and pH levels for the best results. These case studies will show that coagulation is the hero for wastewater treatment!

Case Studies and Examples of Coagulation in Wastewater Treatment

Coagulation: a key factor in wastewater treatment. Let’s delve into real-life situations that illustrate how effective it is. Here’s a table of diverse case studies and examples:

Case Study Coagulant Used Result
Industrial wastewater treatment Aluminum sulfate (Alum) Significantly reduced suspended solids and turbidity levels
Municipal sewage treatment Ferric chloride Efficient removal of phosphorus and reduction in odor
Paper mill effluent treatment PolyDADMAC (Polydiallyldimethylammonium chloride) Improved clarification and reduced organic content
Food processing wastewater treatment Ferrous sulfate Effective removal of heavy metals and organic pollutants

These cases demonstrate the power of different coagulants for treating wastewater. By using the correct coagulant, suspended solids, turbidity, phosphorus, odor, organic content, heavy metals, and other pollutants can be removed efficiently.

To make coagulation even more effective, try these tips:

  1. Optimize dosage. Determine the optimal amount of coagulant for maximum efficiency. Pilot tests are a great way to find the right dosage for certain contaminants.
  2. Adjust pH levels. pH levels greatly affect coagulant performance. Keeping pH within the recommended range leads to better precipitation and pollution control.
  3. Consider pre-treatment processes. Sedimentation or filtration before applying coagulants can remove larger particles or substances that might interfere with the coagulation process.

By following these suggestions, coagulation becomes more efficient. This means improved wastewater treatment outcomes.

Coagulation in wastewater treatment offers many possibilities for efficient pollution control. By studying case studies and optimizing the process, we can make coagulation even more effective for treating different types of wastewater. Prepare yourself for the future of coagulation technology, where wastewater treatment is as easy as getting a toddler to eat their greens!

Future Developments and Trends in Coagulation Technology

Future advancements and trends in coagulation technology focus on improving efficiency and sustainability. Novel materials, optimized dosing techniques, and integration with other wastewater treatment processes are some key areas to explore.

Nanomaterials and biopolymers offer improved coagulation performance due to their high surface area and unique physicochemical properties. Automated dosing systems and real-time monitoring aim to optimize dosing techniques for cost savings and reduced chemical usage.

Integrating coagulation with other wastewater treatment processes can maximize resource recovery and minimize waste generation. All in all, it’s a dirty dance of particles and chemicals to clean up the mess.

Conclusion: Coagulation In Wastewater Treatment

Coagulation is vital for successful wastewater treatment. When coagulants, such as aluminum sulfate or ferric chloride, are added to wastewater, suspended solids and other contaminants are grouped together into larger particles. This allows for sedimentation or filtration to be used to separate the particles from the water.

Not only does coagulation help with removing suspended solids, it also helps with the removal of dissolved organic matter, heavy metals, and pathogens. Coagulants neutralize the charges on particles, allowing them to stick together. Furthermore, flocs form during coagulation, improving the efficiency of subsequent treatment processes.

An interesting aspect of coagulation is that the choice of coagulant greatly influences its effectiveness. Factors like pH, temperature, and the type and concentration of contaminants in the wastewater must be considered when selecting a coagulant. For instance, aluminum-based coagulants perform better at lower pH levels, while iron-based coagulants work better at higher pH levels.

Smith et al. showed that adding both aluminum sulfate and ferric chloride together improved the performance of coagulation in wastewater treatment systems. This method was seen to bring down turbidity and remove various contaminants.

It is clear that coagulation is key to effective wastewater treatment. It is essential to pick the right coagulant based on the site conditions and requirements. With research and developments in coagulation techniques, we can continue to make wastewater treatment processes more efficient and effective for a cleaner environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is coagulation in wastewater treatment?

Coagulation is a process used in wastewater treatment to remove suspended particles and pollutants. It involves the addition of certain chemicals, called coagulants, which cause the particles to aggregate and form larger particles called flocs. These flocs can then be easily separated from the water.

2. Why is coagulation important in wastewater treatment?

Coagulation plays a vital role in wastewater treatment as it helps in the removal of fine particles, organic matter, and some dissolved contaminants that are not easily removed by other treatment processes. It improves the efficiency of subsequent treatment steps and helps produce cleaner and safer water.

3. What are commonly used coagulants in wastewater treatment?

Commonly used coagulants in wastewater treatment include aluminum sulfate (alum), ferric chloride, and polyaluminum chloride. These coagulants work by neutralizing the charges on the suspended particles, causing them to clump together and settle.

4. How is coagulation carried out in wastewater treatment plants?

In wastewater treatment plants, coagulation is typically carried out in large tanks called coagulation or flash mixers. The coagulant is added to the wastewater in controlled doses and mixed thoroughly to ensure proper contact and reaction with the particles. The mixture is then allowed to settle, and the clarified water is separated from the settled solids.

5. Can coagulation remove all pollutants from wastewater?

No, coagulation alone cannot remove all pollutants from wastewater. While it is effective in removing suspended solids, some dissolved contaminants, such as dissolved metals and organic compounds, may require additional treatment processes like flocculation, sedimentation, filtration, or activated carbon adsorption.

6. What factors can affect the effectiveness of coagulation in wastewater treatment?

The effectiveness of coagulation in wastewater treatment can be influenced by factors such as pH, temperature, coagulant dosage, mixing intensity, and the characteristics of the wastewater itself. Optimal operating conditions should be determined through careful analysis and testing to achieve efficient coagulation and pollutant removal.

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