Accelerated seeded precipitation pre-treatment of municipal wastewater to reduce scaling

Peter Sanciolo, Linda Zou, Stephen Gray, Greg Leslie, Daryl Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Membrane based treatment processes are very effective in removing salt from wastewater, but are hindered by calcium scale deposit formation. This study investigates the feasibility of removing calcium from treated sewage wastewater using accelerated seeded precipitation. The rate of calcium removal was measured during bench scale batch mode seeded precipitation experiments at pH 9.5 using various quantities of calcium carbonate as seed material. The results indicate that accelerated seeded precipitation may be a feasible option for the decrease of calcium in reverse osmosis concentrate streams during the desalination of treated sewage wastewater for irrigation purposes, promising decreased incidence of scaling and the option to control the sodium adsorption ratio and nutritional properties of the desalted water. It was found that accelerated seeded precipitation of calcium from treated sewage wastewater was largely ineffective if carried out without pre-treatment of the wastewater. Evidence was presented that suggests that phosphate may be a major interfering substance for the seeded precipitation of calcium from this type of wastewater. A pH adjustment to 9.5 followed by a 1-h equilibration period was found to be an effective pre-treatment for the removal of interferences. Calcium carbonate seed addition at 10 g l-1 to wastewater that had been pre-treated in this way was found to result in calcium precipitation from supersaturated level at 60 mg l-1 to saturated level at 5 mg l-1. Approximately 90% reduction of the calcium level occurred 5 min after seed addition. A further 10% reduction was achieved 30 min after seed addition.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)243-249
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2008


  • Calcium
  • Effluent
  • Interference
  • Irrigation
  • Phosphate
  • Water reuse


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