Natural organic matter removal by coagulation during drinking water treatment: A review

Anu Matilainen, Mikko Vepsäläinen, Mika Sillanpää (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

999 Citations (Scopus)


Natural organic matter (NOM) is found in all surface, ground and soil waters. An increase in the amount of NOM has been observed over the past 10–20 years in raw water supplies in several areas, which has a significant effect on drinking water treatment. The presence of NOM causes many problems in drinking water and drinking water treatment processes, including (i) negative effect on water quality by causing colour, taste and odor problems, (ii) increased coagulant and disinfectant doses (which in turn results in increased sludge volumes and production of harmful disinfection by-products), (iii) promoted biological growth in distribution system, and (iv) increased levels of complexed heavy metals and adsorbed organic pollutants. NOM can be removed from drinking water by several treatment options, of which the most common and economically feasible processes are considered to be coagulation and flocculation followed by sedimentation/flotation and sand filtration. Most of the NOM can be removed by coagulation, although, the hydrophobic fraction and high molar mass compounds of NOM are removed more efficiently than hydrophilic fraction and the low molar mass compounds. Thus, enhanced and/or optimized coagulation, as well as new process alternatives for the better removal of NOM by coagulation process has been suggested. In the present work, an overview of the recent research dealing with coagulation and flocculation in the removal of NOM from drinking water is presented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-197
JournalAdvances in Colloid and Interface Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • Coagulation
  • Drinking water
  • Natural organic matter
  • NOM
  • Water treatment


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