High suspended solids removal of Indian drain water with a down-scaled Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF) for water recovery. Assessing water-type dependence on process control variables

Antonella L. Piaggio*, Lais A. Soares, Malini Balakrishnan, Tavishi Guleria, Merle K. de Kreuk, Ralph E.F. Lindeboom

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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The Barapullah drain crosses through New Delhi, India, and transports millions of cubic meters of stormwater, municipal sewage and industrial sewage to the Yamuna River. Seasonal variations and ambiguous annual discharges cause 20-fold fluctuations in hydraulic flows, pollutants type and concentration. Furthermore, New Delhi is among the most densely populated areas on the planet, with limited surface area and high water stress. Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF) units are known to be highly compact, robust, and an efficient suspended solids separation technology that enables further water recovery in a treatment train. Thus, a down-scaled column DAF was designed and used to determine the total suspended solids removal efficiencies, under different influent conditions. Three influents that resemble the Barapullah drain seasonal variations in composition, and a fourth that imitates the feed of DAF when located after an anaerobic bioreactor were tested. A total of 60 batch DAF experiments were completed and used to assess seven independent control variables for DAF operation, which are influent Total Suspended Solids (TSS), pH, temperature, DAF particles residence time, white water pressure, coagulants and flocculants concentration, and coagulation and flocculation time. Results showed that the down-scaled DAF could be steered from low to high removal efficiencies, comparable to full-scale systems. Maximum TSS removal varied between 92 and 96%. The effect and statistical relevance of the different performance variables on the measured separation efficiencies depended on the influent type. All variables, except temperature and pH, had a significant performance effect with a p-value below 0.1, for at least one influent. Pressure had a positive effect on separation efficiency, due to its importance in bubble formation. Moreover, the down-scaled DAF system had low removal efficiency for particles with spherical shapes, and diameters below 10 µm. Based on the high TSS removal for all tested influents, and the effect of the studied control variables, a full-scale DAF could efficiently remove the suspended solids of the Barapullah drain. The unit robustness for different flows and pollutant concentrations, and small footprint, show DAF suitability as part of a treatment train for water recovery, in densely populated areas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100567
JournalEnvironmental Challenges
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Design of experiments
  • Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF)
  • Solids removal efficiency
  • The Barapullah drain
  • Wastewater treatment

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