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Adsorption capacity of GAC pilot filter-adsorber and postfilter- adsorber for individual THMs from drinking water, Athens

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50 - 58

Babi K.G., Koumenides K.M., Makri C.A., Nikolaou A.D. and Lekkas T.D.
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Trihalomethanes are a major class of chlorination by-products in drinking water. They are formed
when chlorine reacts with bromide (Br-) and natural organic matter (NOM) in source waters.
Toxicology studies have shown all THMs to be carcinogenic or to cause adverse reproductive or
developmental effects in laboratory animals. THMs are small volatile molecules, which are
hydrophobic, non biodegradable and adsorbable on granular activated carbon (GAC).
The objective of this pilot study is to evaluate the adsorption capacity for individual THMs of a GAC
filter-adsorber (A) and a GAC postfilter-adsorber (B), both fed with chlorinated natural water.
For this purpose, a GAC pilot plant was operated as a filter-adsorber and a postfilter-adsorber in
Galatsi WTP, Athens (GTP) until the removal of individual THMs by GAC was eliminated
(breakthrough). Regular sampling was performed during operation and the parameters measured
were: THMs, DOC, free residual chlorine, bromide, turbidity, pH and temperature.
From the experimental data, GAC bed life, GAC usage rate, GAC loading and operation time to
breakthrough were calculated for most THMs. TBM was almost not detected. Some desorption of
THMs, especially TCM and BDCM, was noticed during the operation of both adsorbers.
Near breakthrough for THMs, equilibrium between adsorbed and dissolved THMs was considered to
have been established. The GAC equilibrium loading of individual THMs was assumed to depend on
the mean value of their influent concentration, which was not constant. By correlating the equilibrium
data by linear regression to conform to the Freundlich isotherm, the Freundlich constants 1/n and k
were determined for each of THMs. They are related to the physicochemical characteristics and
background organics of water and the specific GAC used. The strength of the adsorption bond and
the GAC capacity was higher for DBCM, lower for BDCM and even lower for TCM for both
adsorbers. In addition, the GAC(B) capacity for BDCM and DBCM was higher than that of GAC(A),
probably due to larger surface area and surface chemistry of GAC(B). Also, the lower particle size
and the higher uniformity coefficient of GAC(B), along with the lower flow rate may have attributed to
that by enhancing GAC equilibration. However, TCM was less adsorbed by GAC(B), probably due
to the stronger competition effect by BDCM and DBCM, being in much higher mean influent
The DOC content of influent water seems also to reduce significantly the adsorption of THMs
(especially of TCM), as the comparison of our results with the isotherm results with distilleddeionized
water by other researchers showed.

TCM, BDCM, DBCM, GAC, adsorption, filter-adsorber, postfilter-adsorber