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Raw Water Jar Test Procedure

Raw water characteristics and treatment processes vary widely, but water
treatment experts agree that the chemicals needed to accomplish
treatment goals can be screened by jar testing. However, the chemicals
and dosages needed for optimal coagulation and flocculation are best
determined in practice by full-scale evaluation. To accomplish appropriate
product selection at the bench, jar testing techniques are used to simulate
the treatment process and full-scale performance. Parameters of chemical
type, chemical dosage, mixing energy, and duration of mixing are typically
varied in bench tests known as jar tests. A multiple station paddle mixer,
or gang stirrer is typically used for testing.
Standard jar test mixing parameters are:
1) fast mix, to disperse the chemical and form pin floc via charge
neutralization of suspended solids,
2) slow mix, to allow particle-particle collisions for additional floc formation
and growth,
3) settling time, to simulate sedimentation processes.
The duration of each mixing step must be determined for the individual
application. For example, if alum is added at the raw water intake one-half
mile away from the clarifier, then the fast mix should be longer than if alum
is added only 20 feet before the clarifier. A plant that is hydraulically
overloaded suggests a shorter slow mix time be used. Sometimes,
appropriate jar testing parameters can be learned from experienced plant
personnel. Also, they can be determined empirically by varying the mixing
parameters and measuring performance. Note: jar testing only simulates
sedimentation and cannot simulate filtration through a sludge blanket or
sand filter.
Jar tests should be benchmarked using a plants current treatment
program. This allows the testor to adjust fast/slow/settling times to
correlate with full scale performance. The actual dose in use in the plant at
the time of the tests is set as the Benchmark for the series of tests.
The time and energy of the rapid mix portion of the test is chosen to
approximate plant conditions. Usually, a fast mix of 20 sec to 3 minutes is
used. Mixing energy is at relatively high rpm, about 200 rpm or 70-100% of
gang stirrer maximum speed. Primary coagulant such as alum, ULTRION,
etc. is added at the beginning of the fast mix. Since mixing is important, all
jars should have coagulant added in exactly the same manner each time.
The syringe should be at the same angle, with chemical going into the

same part of the vortex every time. Avoid splashing chemical, getting a
lower than expected dose. If flocculant is being used, this is normally
added just before the end of the fast mix which is a compromise between
thoroughly mixed and minimally sheared flocculant.
This part of the process simulation is generally accomplished in much less
time but at higher energy than the actual plant operation. After the fast
mix, the stirrers are turned down to a slower speed (15 to 40 rpm) to allow
particle-particle contact without shearingof the floc. Slow mixing is
continued for a period of time varying from about 5 to 20 minutes. If the
sample water has high turbidity, the rate of particle collisions may be high
enough to shorten the slow mix time. Relatively clean water (low turbidity)
may require a longer slow mix to get a sufficient number of collisions for
floc growth.
Floc size of the average particle formed in the flocculation stage is usually
ranked versus the benchmark under the same mixing parameters. Other
factors such as water clarity between floc particles, floc shape, tightness,
etc. should be noted for comparison.

After stopping the stirrer, the stirring paddles are removed and the treated
water is allowed to settle undisturbed for sufficient time to settle solids and
clarify the supernatant. This usually is done in 5 to 30 minutes, but may be
over an hour. Supernatant is then withdrawn from the jars, and turbidity is
measured in a turbidimeter.
Coagulants can be diluted for easy dosing; aqueous solutions
concentrations are usually 1, 5, or 10%. Flocculants require lower solution
concentration of about 0.1 percent to allow for adequate mixing in the jar
test. Emulsion polymers must be properly inverted prior to dilution. Actual
product dosages required depend on the application.
Water temperatures will increase rapidly in indoor jar tests and changing
water temperature may change test results. Use water of the same
temperature as the plant raw water in the jar tests. Try turning off the
lights illuminating the jars until needed in the settling tests to minimize any
temperature increase.
Settled water turbidity measurements are generally used to make
quantitative comparison of the jar tests as a function of the principal
parameter of the test. A syringe or pipette can be used for sampling the
supernatant water in the jars at a depth where the settled solids will not be
disturbed. Some jars may have built-in sampling ports. Water is usually
sampled approximately 1 cm below the surface and is usually the cleanest
possible water. Sampling can also be done 5 to 10 cm below the surface to
determine if slow settling floc is a problem. This would be important in
hydraulically overloaded water treatment plants. In many plants, other
parameters are important, such as pH or alkalinity, so these tests may also
be performed.
Product performance is usually compared to the current customer
treatment program. Settled solids volume, supernatant turbidity and
program cost ( i.e., $/volume water treated) can be used to establish the
cost effectiveness of various treatment programs which meet customer
performance requirements.
Jar testing cannot simulate a sand filter or a sludge blanket!
Try to treat every jar the same

Measure water volume - Consistently!

Inject into vortex - Avoid splashing.
Treat a Dosage RANGE to avoid a false minimum.
If a plant has a Jar Test Procedure - use it, especially to finalize product
Dosage Range should start at 25% increase to 150% of current programs
dosage and adjusted accordingly.
Always benchmark versus the current program.
Coagulation curves initially decrease turbidity, but overdosed coagulant
tends to resuspend particles. This is especially true of organic coagulants.
Below is a typical dosage curve for an organic coagulant. The second,
false minima occurs presumably due to coagulant polymer forming
multiple layers on a particle. Because of such potential behavior, dosage
ranges should be tested.