Standard Article

Particulate Removal

Municipal Water Supply

  1. Rasheed Ahmad

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047147844X.mw411

Water Encyclopedia

Water Encyclopedia

How to Cite

Ahmad, R. 2005. Particulate Removal. Water Encyclopedia. 1:370–372.

Author Information

  1. Khafra Engineering Consultants, Atlanta, Georgia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005


Particulate removal is extremely important in providing safe and aesthetically pleasing drinking water. A wide variety of particulate matter is present in raw water sources as a result of either natural events or human activities. Other particulates, mainly chemical precipitants, are created intentionally to remove other contaminants. Naturally occurring particulates are clay, silt, metal oxides, biological and organic detritus, and biota such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and algae. Chemical precipitants and particulate oxides, the other type of particulate, are produced when coagulants or chemical oxidants are used.

There are two categories of particulate removal process technologies in drinking water treatment: the particle alteration and particle production process and particle separation process technology. Coagulation and chemical oxidation are considered particle alteration and particle production processes. Sedimentation, filtration, flotation, and membrane processes fall under particle separation technology. For effective and complete particulate removal, a particle alteration and particle production process should be followed by a particle separation process.


  • coagulation;
  • flocculation;
  • sedimentation;
  • flotation;
  • particle alteration;
  • particle production;
  • particle separation;
  • filtration;
  • rapid sand filtration;
  • backwashing;
  • slow sand filter;
  • membrane filtration;
  • microfiltration;
  • ultrafiltration