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Activated Carbon and Wood Ash Sorption of Wastewater, Compost, and Biosolids Odorants

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Odor emissions from wastewater treatment facilities and composting operations and land application of biosolids are priority concerns for wastewater engineers, compost operators, and biosolids managers. High carbon wood ash is a material produced by the pulp and paper industry and cogeneration energy producing facilities; although this material has been found to have characteristics similar to activated carbon, it is currently treated as waste and deposited in landfills. To control odors associated with wastewater and biosolids, activated carbon and wood ash were exposed to odorants that often are associated with biosolids and wastewater, including dimethyl disulfide, dimethyl sulfide, carbon disulfide, ammonia, trimethyl amine, acetone, and methyl ethyl ketone. The sorption materials included activated carbon containing 87% carbon and wood ash residuals containing 32, 27, 6, and 0.24% carbon, with surface areas of 520, 85, 74, 25, and 2.1 m2/g, respectively. This laboratory sorption experiment was undertaken to examine sorption efficiency and kinetics of chemical odorants by activated carbon and wood ash residuals. Results demonstrate that wood ash with higher carbon concentrations and higher surface areas sorbed odorants better than low-carbon ash. Furthermore, the 32 and 27% carbon wood ash possessed characteristics similar to activated carbon and were able to sorb odorous gases effectively.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2001-07-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    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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