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Dual role of activated carbon process for water reuse

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Four granular activated carbon (GAC) filters went into service in 1977 at the County Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County's Pomona Water Reclamation Plant to treat 0.44 m3/s (10 mgd) of wastewater for reuse. This article provides long-term operational information for similar water reuse applications.

The GAC filters successfully served dual roles as tertiary filters and adsorbers of organics. After 10 regenerations with an average 10% makeup of virgin carbon per regeneration, the iodine number dropped from 1 000 mg/g to a leveled-off value of 600 mg/g; the molasses number increased from 170 to 250; apparent density decreased slightly; and mean particle diameter decreased from 1.65 mm to 1.2 mm. The ash content increased steadily from the initial 6.5% to more than 15% after 15 regenerations. After 20 regenerations, the GAC filters still exerted a total organic carbon removal from more than 80% initially to a level of 20%. The removal of true color by the regenerated carbon decreased from 90% initially to 30%. With the provisions of an after-burner and a wet Venturi scrubber, the air emissions from the carbon regeneration facility were effectively controlled. The energy and labor costs become the dominant operation and maintenance costs as the regeneration frequency increases.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 1998

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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