A New Charge Based Coagulant Dose Control Instrument

EPA Contract Number: 68D50146
Title: A New Charge Based Coagulant Dose Control Instrument
Investigators: Jorden, Roger M.
Small Business: Clear Corporation Enterprises Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: II
Project Period: September 1, 1995 through July 1, 1997
Project Amount: $220,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (1995) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Water and Watersheds , SBIR - Water and Wastewater , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


The catastrophic drinking water treatment plant failure in March 1993 in Milwaukee was a direct result of the inability to control coagulant chemical dosage during significant changed in raw water quality. This event largely dispelled the myth that only small water utilities were vulnerable to such control problems. The current state of this critical technology, coagulant dose control, is woefully inadequate. The Milwaukee failure is traceable to the inadequate tools plant operators have available to dealt with this daily on-going problem at every plant site. Optimization with the jar test, a trusted standard feedforward control method, is skill and labor intensive, too slow, and too insensitive for many modern water treatment plants. Streaming current detectors - the sole automated feedback controller - cannot be calibrated to a known reference and requires skilled technicians to set and maintain control.

A new coagulation control concept was demonstrated in Phase I to be feasible for achieving both feed forward and feed back coagulant control. This utilizes a technique called colloid charge titration, but with a unique new method of end-point detection. Clear Corporation Enterprises, Inc.'s Phase II objectives are:

  1. design a prototype instrument capable of proof in field test based on applicability proven in Phase I,
  2. implement the innovative new end-point detection and feedforward/feedback technique in a rugged easy to use and affordable design, and
  3. validate system performance at a municipal water treatment facility.

The proposed program is attractive because it could address a seemingly intractable, critical control problem which has plagued the drinking water industry nationwide throughout its history. This device, if proven effective, could provide operators even in small facilities with the means to prevent catastrophes like Milwaukee's.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, engineering, chemistry., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Water, Chemical Engineering, Environmental Chemistry, Chemistry, Drinking Water, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, Environmental Engineering, alternative disinfection methods, public water systems, colloid charge titration, coagulant dose control, community water system, municipal water, water quality, drinking water contaminants, drinking water treatment, water treatment, other - risk management

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final

  • SBIR Phase I:

    A New Charge Based Coagulant Dose Control Instrument