Removal of emulsified fuel oils from brackish and pond water by dissolved air flotation with and without polyelectrolyte use: pilot-scale investigation for estuarine and near shore applications

Chemosphere. 2011 Nov;85(7):1182-6. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2011.07.006. Epub 2011 Aug 2.


In coastal areas, estuaries, and inland waters, dispersant use after oil spills is not allowed due to sensitivity of the ecosystems. The purpose of this study was to investigate the removal of emulsified fuel oils from brackish and pond water by dissolved air flotation (DAF) with and without use of coagulants. Experiments were conducted with a 60L DAF system. Fuel oil-water emulsions were prepared with regular unleaded gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel fuel mixed at 1:1:1 (v/v/v) ratio. Batch and continuous runs were conducted at air pressurization of 354.6kPa. During both batch and continuous modes, significant petroleum hydrocarbon (PHC) removal was achieved within 10 min. Coagulant addition initially increased the PHC removal by about 5-15%. However, effectiveness of the coagulant was not significant after 20 min due to breakage of the aggregates. In general, the pond water had higher PHC removal than the brackish water. With longer run times, PHC removal improved slightly and the effluent contained increasing fractions of higher molecular weight compounds indicating that PHC removal was due to both DAF and stripping processes. Results indicate that DAF process can be effective both with and without the use of coagulants for removing PHCs from brackish and pond waters.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Air*
  • Electrolytes / chemistry*
  • Environmental Restoration and Remediation*
  • Flocculation
  • Fuel Oils / analysis*
  • Hydrocarbons / analysis
  • Hydrocarbons / isolation & purification
  • Petroleum
  • Pilot Projects
  • Polyethylenes / chemistry
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds / chemistry
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / isolation & purification


  • Electrolytes
  • Fuel Oils
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Petroleum
  • Polyethylenes
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • poly-N,N-dimethyl-N,N-diallylammonium chloride