Dissolved air flotation (DAF) is a water treatment process that clarifies wastewaters (or other waters) by the removal of suspended matter such as oil or solids. The removal is achieved by dissolving air in the water or wastewater under pressure and then releasing the air at atmospheric pressure in a flotation tank basin. The released air forms tiny bubbles which adhere to the suspended matter causing the suspended matter to float to the surface of the water where it may then be removed by a skimming device.
Dissolved air flotation is very widely used in treating the industrial wastewater effluents from oil refineries, petrochemical and chemical plants, natural gas processing plants, paper mills, general water treatment and similar industrial facilities. A very similar process known as induced gas flotation is also used for wastewater treatment. Froth flotation is commonly used in the processing of mineral ores.
In the oil industry, dissolved gas flotation (DGF) units do not use air as the flotation medium due to the explosion risk. Nitrogen gas is used instead to create the bubbles.