In this study, a high-efficiency cationic flocculant, P(DAC-MAPTAC-AM), was successfully prepared using UV-induced polymerization technology. The monomer Acrylamide (AM): Acryloxyethyl Trimethyl ammonium chloride (DAC): methacrylamido propyl trimethyl ammonium chloride (MAPTAC) ratio, monomer concentration, photoinitiator concentration, urea content, and cationic monomer DAC:MAPTAC ratio, light time, and power of high-pressure mercury lamp were studied. The characteristic groups, characteristic diffraction peaks, and characteristic proton peaks of P(DAC-MAPTAC-AM) were confirmed by fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-Ray diffraction (XRD), 1H nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer (1H NMR), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The effects of dosage, pH value, and velocity gradient (G) value on the removal efficiencies of turbidity, COD, ammonia nitrogen, and total phenol by poly aluminum ferric chloride (PAFC), P(DAC-MAPTAC-AM), and PAFC/P(DAC-MAPTAC-AM) in the flocculation treatment of coal chemical wastewater were investigated. Results showed that the optimal conditions for the flocculation of coal chemical wastewater using P(DAC-MAPTAC-AM) alone are as follows: dosage of 8–12 mg/L, G value of 100–250 s − 1, and pH value of 4–8. The optimal dosage of PAFC is 90–150 mg/L with a pH of 2–12. The optimal dosage for PAFC/P(DAC-MAPTAC-AM) is as follows: PAFC dosage of 90–150 mg/L, P(DAC-MAPTAC-AM) dosage of 8–12 mg/L, and pH range of 2–6. When P(DAC-MAPTAC-AM) was used alone, the optimal removal efficiencies of turbidity, COD, ammonia nitrogen, and total phenol were 81.0%, 35.0%, 75.0%, and 80.3%, respectively. PAFC has good tolerance to wastewater pH and good pH buffering. Thus, the flocculation treatment of coal chemical wastewater using the PAFC/P(DAC-MAPTAC-AM) compound also exhibits excellent resistance and buffering capacity.