Stage IV : Filtration

Filtration After separating most floc, the water is filtered as the final step to remove remaining suspended particles and unsettled floc. The most common type of filter is a rapid sand filter. Water moves vertically through sand which often has a layer of activated carbon or anthracite coal above the sand. The top layer removes organic compounds, which contribute to taste and odour. The space between sand particles is larger than the smallest suspended particles, so simple filtration is not enough. Most particles pass through surface layers but are trapped in pore spaces or adhere to sand particles. Effective filtration extends into the depth of the filter. This property of the filter is key to its operation: if the top layer of sand were to block all the particles, the filter would quickly clog. To clean the filter, water is passed quickly upward through the filter, opposite the normal direction (called backflushing or backwashing) to remove embedded particles. Prior to this, compressed air may be blown up through the bottom of the filter to break up the compacted filter media to aid the backwashing process; this is known as air scouring. This contaminated water can be disposed of, along with the sludge from the sedimentation basin, or it can be recycled by mixing with the raw water entering the plant. Some water treatment plants employ pressure filters. These work on the same principle as rapid gravity filters, differing in that the filter medium is enclosed in a steel vessel and the water is forced through it under pressure.

Filters out much smaller particles than paper and sand filters can.
Filters out virtually all particles larger than their specified pore sizes.
They are quite thin and so liquids flow through them fairly rapidly.
They are reasonably strong and so can withstand pressure differences across them of typically 2-5 atmospheres.
They can be cleaned (back flushed) and reused.
However no filtration can remove substances that are actually dissolved in the water such as phosphorus, nitrates and heavy metal ions.

Scope of Automation:

  1. Monitoring of the level of the filter beds
  2. Monitoring of rate of flow and drop in differential pressure
  3. Operation of the valves (Inlet, Backwash, Outlet, Air inlet and Drain)

Benefits :

  1. Improved efficiency of the filters, back wash at pre specified process parameters