Transport and retention of a bacteriophage and microspheres in saturated, angular porous media: effects of ionic strength and grain size. Academic Article uri icon


  • Eight saturated column experiments were conducted to examine the effects of solution chemistry and grain size on the transport of colloids through crushed silica sand. Two sizes of colloids, 0.025-microm bacteriophage (MS-2) and 1.5-microm carboxylated microspheres, were used as surrogates for the transport of pathogenic viruses and bacteria, respectively. Increasing the Ca(2+) concentration from 1 to 4.8 mM (along with background monovalent ions) resulted in complete attenuation (>6-log decrease in C/C(0)) of MS-2, but caused only a 1-log reduction (C/C(0)=0.1) in the concentration of the microspheres. Decreasing grain size from medium sand (d(50)=0.70 mm) to fine sand (d(50)=0.34 mm) resulted in substantial decreases in effluent concentrations of both the MS-2 (5-log decrease) and microspheres (>2.5-log decrease). Comparison of observed colloid retention to that predicted by a recently published correlation equation for colloid filtration revealed that the model can considerably underpredict (by 4 orders of magnitude or more) colloid retention by angular sand over distances as short as 20 cm. This indicates that state-of-the-art colloid filtration models are still limited in applicability to natural systems.

published proceedings

  • Water Res

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Knappett, P., Emelko, M. B., Zhuang, J., & McKay, L. D

citation count

  • 47

complete list of authors

  • Knappett, Peter SK||Emelko, Monica B||Zhuang, Jie||McKay, Larry D

publication date

  • October 2008