The U.S. Bureau of Mines' rapid method of dewatering fine- particulate slurries uses extremely high-molecular-weight polymers. These polymers form large, strong flocs that can be dewatered by sieving or sedimentation. However, sometimes these flocs deteriorate rapidly if water is not removed immediately. During field tests, clay slurries have been encountered that could have been dewatered economically if it were not for the rapid floc deterioration. A kinetics study was conducted to determine the rate of kaolin-peo floc degradation in which polymer addition, to bring the flocs back to their original condition, was used to determine the extent of floc decay. Results showed that the amount of polymer added, to replace polymer lost by spreading, was less for the lower peo concentrations. For this clay-polymer system, floc breakage as judged by polymer additions followed first-order kinetics. It was also found that the addition of fluoride ion stabilized the kaolin flocs.