Technical note: Measurement and expression of granular filter cleanliness
The problem of dirty filter media at water treatment plants, despite having good backwash systems, is a serious challenge that requires constant monitoring and maintenance. To aid the systematic analysis of filter media and the troubleshooting of problem filters, this paper firstly proposes a standard procedure for quantification of the specific deposit on filter media, including tentative guidelines for the interpretation of the results. Secondly, a standard procedure is proposed for the characterisation of the specific deposit, based on its volatility and its acid solubility. These fractions are helpful to trace the origin of excessively dirty filter media. Thirdly, the utility of the proposed procedures is demonstrated by the results of a South African treatment plant survey. This confirms some earlier observations that there often is a real problem with recalcitrant specific deposits that cannot be readily removed by backwashing, a fraction that correlates with the organic fraction in the specific deposit.
Keywords: backwashing, specific deposit, filter media, filter cleanliness