Water and Wastewater Terms Beginning P

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polyelectrolyte (POLY-ee-LECK-tro-lite)

A high-molecular-weight (relatively heavy) substance, having points of positive or negative electrical charges, that is formed by either natural or synthetic (manmade) processes. Natural polyelectrolytes may be of biological origin or obtained from starch products or cellulose derivatives. Synthetic polyelectrolytes consist of simple substances that have been made into complex, high-molecular-weight substances. Used with other chemical coagulants to aid in binding small suspended particles to larger chemical flocs for their removal from water. Also see polymer.