Coagulants are used for treatment of all kinds of water
Coagulation is the oldest known water treatment method
In industry, coagulants are frequently used for water treatment
In drinking water production, coagulants remove particles, humic substances and colour
Coagulants produce healthy and enjoyable drinking water
Coagulants are used for treatment of all kinds of water

The EU’s Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) sets out guidelines for the approval and control of industrial installations. The guidelines require an integrated approach and the implementation of best available techniques (BAT). BATs are the most effective techniques to achieve a high level of environmental protection, taking into account the costs and benefits. Revised BAT Reference Documents (BREF) are more prescriptive on which BATs should be used in order to provide more consistency across EU member states.

The first BAT (Best Available Techniques) Reference Document (BREF) on Large Volume Inorganic Coagulants (LVIC) was adopted in 2007. The BREF LVIC is scheduled for review in 2015. The process should last about three years.

INCOPA has established a BREF task force which will identify the data that needs to be collected. Members of the task force will also participate in the Cefic LVIC Working Group which will bring together experts from different industries.


Paper Industry
Inorganic coagulants are used in two critical parts of the paper production process: sizing and retention.
Other Applications
In addition to their role as inorganic coagulants, aluminium and iron salts are used in many other applications.
Waste Water
To ensure the water does no harm to people or the environment when it is released, waste water must be treated to reduce the level of contaminants to acceptable levels.
Drinking Water
In order to protect our health, all drinking water must be cleared of pathogens and impurities before it is used.
Industrial Uses
For industry, coagulants provide a method of reusing water in a cost-effective way that does not comprise the industrial process.


How long have inorganic coagulants been used in water treatment?

Alum has been used at least since Roman times for purification of drinking water (cf. Chemistry of Water Treatment – Samuel D. Faust, Osman M. Aly (1999)). It is also reported that Egyptians used alum coagulant as early as 1500 BC to reduce the visible cloudiness in the water.

In the modern times, London became the first city to mandate that drinking water should be purified using coagulants, after an outbreak of cholera in 1854. By the start of the 20th Century, scientists better understood the role of inorganic coagulants in water purification and their use spread worldwide. The treatment of waste water with inorganic coagulants started on a large scale in the 1950s.