Enhancing the capacity of seeds as turbidity removal agents in water treatment. : A Minor Field Study.

University essay from KTH/Miljögeokemi och ekoteknik


The aim of this master’s thesis was to investigate if defattening of Parkinsonia aculeata (in

swahili “mkeketa”) and Vigna unguiculata (in swahili “choroko”) would enhance the capacity of the seed’s properties in removing suspended particles from surface water. The seeds are used in local traditional treatment of drinking water in Tanzania. The aim was also to investigate the possibility to reduce high concentrations of fluoride with the seeds. The seeds contain proteins that act as coagulants. Coagulated particulate matter can be flocculated and separated from the water. A purification of the coagulants by defattening was expected to enhance the coagulating capacity. Experiments were conducted in jar-tests with dosages of coagulant solutions of undefattening and defattened seed solutions and alum (aluminium sulphate). The experiments showed that both Parkinsonia aculeata and Vigna unguiculata seeds can compete with alum in drinking water treatment of surface water, reaching the same or better final results in turbidity removal. Both seeds also produce less sludge volumes than alum and functions in turbidity removal together with alum. The seeds may be used as coagulant aids to reduce the usage of chemicals and sludge production. They were not able to clarify turbid waste water and did not reduce high concentrations of fluoride in groundwater. Further, the turbidity-removal capacity of the coagulants had reduced capacities in water with low pH-values.

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