Water treatment – a better way than jar testing?

Water is at the foundation of life. Thus for humans H2O is of critical importance and most directly so for drinking water. In order to prepare water for safe consumption, water treatment procedures have been developed and improved to provide a reliable source of healthy drinking water through the use of chemicals for coagulation and flocculation. Zeta potential measurements can assist this process and help realize potential cost savings on chemical usage and sludge disposal costs.

The water treatment process – traditional jar tests

Water treatment facilities come in a range of sizes: from rural systems with a few hundred customers up wards to regional facilities providing Millions of Gallons per Day [or mega gallons per day, MGD]. While an integrated process solution like the Zetasizer-WT is ideal for the super centers, small scale operators rely on semi-automated or manual jar testing (several beakers or jars are used as mini reactors to optimize coagulant dosage).

In both cases, savings in coagulant chemicals (alum, ferric, ferric chloride) of up to 60% may be realized and typically produce a good ROI payback on the implementation. Is there a better off-line alternative than jar testing?


Yes, Zeta potential measurements with a compact benchtop measurement system in comparison with jar testing provides a superior solution without cumbersome operator intervention and interpretation. The measured Zeta potential value gives clear guidance on the best conditions to optimize water treatment operation conditions and is ideal for those facilities that cannot afford a fully-integrated inline process solution to measure this parameter. The system is easy to use, sturdy, reliable, trusted and proven in the field by many water treatment facility operator installations across North America.

More details in the Malvern application note “Optimization of Water Treatment using Zeta Potential“.

Integrated process optimization


The standard Zetasizer Nano Z bench top system is operated by injecting water samples manually. In the fully integrated Zetasizer WT cabinet system a part of the process stream is automatically diverted, analyzed and fed back into the process control system to optimize chemical consumption, reduce energy use and potentially alert of a developing treatment problem, enabling you to react quickly before a process deviation becomes a significant event.

This solution is particularly effective for large scale operators and has been of benefit to plants with up to 40 MGD and above.

We are exhibiting at the American Water Works Association (AWWA) Pacific Northwest Section meeting in Boise, ID. The 2016 Section Conference is taking place at the Boise Convention Center, and we are exhibiting at booth 515, Thursday 5 May 2016 from 10:30 am – 5:00 pm and Friday 6 May 2016 from 11:00 am – 1:30 pm.

Come by the booth to find out how the Zetasizer works.


If you have any questions, please email me at Thanks! While opinions expressed are generally those of the author, some parts may have been modified by our editorial team.