Fiber Optic Probe for Disinfection By-Product Coagulation Optimization

EPA Contract Number: 68D40040
Title: Fiber Optic Probe for Disinfection By-Product Coagulation Optimization
Investigators: Jorden, Roger M.
Small Business: Clear Corporation Enterprises Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 1994 through March 1, 1995
Project Amount: $55,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (1994) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Water and Watersheds , SBIR - Water and Wastewater , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


The Disinfection and Disinfection By-products Rule (D/DBP Rule) will mandate enhanced coagulation nationwide to reduce public health risk from drinking water. Presently, jar testing is used to determine the unique, site specific coagulation chemistry for reduction of particles. But new instrumentation is necessary to also measure reduction of total organic carbon (TOC) which is the "DBP ancestor". Additionally, the jar test is labor/skill intensive, slow, and it misses flocculation dynamics. Worst of all, the inherent insensitivity of the jar test may bypass valid opportunities at the screening stage consequently resulting in increased health risks and higher costs.

Proposed is a new probe instrument, fiber optic particle analyzer (FOPA) that can measure both floc particles and TOC using an innovative new concept. FOPA is inserted in a jar test for enhanced, rapid, automated coagulation testing for DBP reduction. Moreover, FOPA may provide insights into coagulation never before available because of its potential to provide continuous data on three important properties:

  1. TOC precipitation,
  2. floc particle growth rate, and
  3. flock breakup.

Phase I feasibility questions to be addressed are: Can the new design automate TOC analysis without filtration of particles? Is the greater sensitivity and availability of dynamic coagulation information likely to translate to greater effectiveness/efficiency for reducing public health risk from disinfection by-products?

The proposed FOPA probe instruments is attractive because it could provide plant operators nationwide with a modern, effective tool for achieving enhanced coagulation chemistry at their plant and thus enabling them to meet the intent of the D/DBP Rule. This is especially critical for small systems.

Supplemental Keywords:

Enhanced Coagulation, TOC/Particle Analysis, Flocculation/Breakup Rate., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Water, Chemical Engineering, Environmental Chemistry, Chemistry, Environmental Monitoring, Drinking Water, Environmental Engineering, coagulation, flocculation, fiber optic particle analyzer (FOPA), enhanced coagulation, disinfection byproducts (DPBs), treatment, TOC, DBP risk management

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final