Organic load control in drinking water – First part

Objectives that we will develop in this article on organic load control in drinking water:

  1. Improved identification of possible organic pollutants at the plant entrance
  2. Improvement of the efficiency in the addition of chemical products in the coagulation-flocculation process
  3. Early detection of filter saturation by activated carbon.
  4. Decrease in energy consumption in the control of UV disinfection and increase in lamp durability.
  5. Water storage: ensure the quality of drinking water by continuously measuring the
    organic pollutants before distribution.

What is organic load?

Drinking water comes from very diverse sources, such as rivers, lakes, aquifers and reservoirs, and usually contains natural organic matter (humic, fulvic, tannic acids, etc.). Thus we can define the organic load as the content of carbon compounds in an effluent. Said carbon compounds are chemical structures where carbon is bound to hydrogen and other elements such as sulfur, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorous and chlorine, etc. There is no single structure and the number of carbon atoms can vary from one, as in the case of methane, to millions, as in DNA.

Imagen 1: F. J. Stevenson: Humus Chemistry. Genesis, Composition, Reactions. 2. Auflage . John Wiley and Sons, New York (1994)

One of the main objectives of the drinking water treatment process is to eliminate these dissolved organic substances.

How do we measure organic load?

From Matelco we propose you the AMI SAC254 analyzer, from the Swiss company SWAN ANALYTICAL INSTRUMENTS, it monitors dissolved organic matter by UV absorption at 254 nm (Based on DIN EN 38404-4) since many organic substances absorb UV light at that length cool. This allows an accurate analysis of trends in the concentration of organic matter, facilitating the quality control of drinking water with greater security. Thanks to its simplicity of use and low maintenance, the AMI SAC254 analyzer is an ideal solution for on-line control of organic load.


Technical characteristics:

  • AMI transmitter in IP66 aluminum box
  • Overflow flow cell, with adjustment valve
  • Flowmeter photometer
  • Low maintenance and easy handling
  • Factory pre-calibrated and ready for use
  • Measurement range: 0,05 a 60 Abs m-1
  • Variable optical path length 10 to 100 mm to adjust the measurement range
  • Measurement time: 1 min
  • Optional cleaning module, by adding chemical agents, to prevent biological growth in the flow cell and photometer. Cleaning frequency controlled from the transmitter


Applications in water treatment plants (ETAP)


Water intake


Installing the AMI Sac at the entrance of the ETAP allows us to:

  • Monitoring of changes in the organic load of raw water for trend analysis.
  • Early identification of organic contaminants for immediate handling and adjustment of the process.

Example of measurement of river water after the first filtering where a significant peak is detected after a strong storm.

In the next installment we will continue to look in detail at the other applications.

If you need to resolve any doubt or question you may have about this analyzer, you only have to fill out the form on our website and one of our experts will contact you as soon as possible.

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