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Fractionation and removal of dissolved organic carbon in a full-scale granular activated carbon filter used for drinking water production
Gibert Agulló, Oriol; Lefèvre, B.; Fernández, Marc; Bernat Camí, Xavier; Paraira, Miquel; Pons, Marc
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Departament d'Enginyeria Química; Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. SETRI - Grup de Tècniques de Separació i Tractament de Residus Industrials
The removal of natural organic matter (NOM) and, more particularly, its individual fractions by two different GACs was investigated in full-scale filters in a drinking water treatment plant (DWTP). Fractionation of NOM was performed by high performance size exclusion chromatography (HPSEC) into biopolymers, humic substances, building blocks and low molecular weight organics. The sorption capacity of GAC in terms of iodine number (IN) and apparent surface area (SBET), as well as the filling of narrow- and super-microporosity were monitored over the 1-year operation of the filters. Both GACs demonstrated to be effective at removing NOM over a wide range of fractions, especially the low and intermediate molecular weight fractions. TOC removal initially occurred via adsorption, and smaller (lighter) fractions were more removed as they could enter and diffuse more easily through the pores of the adsorbent. As time progressed, biodegradation also played a role in the TOC removal, and lighter fractions continued to be preferentially removed due to their higher biodegradability. The gained knowledge would assist drinking water utilities in selecting a proper GAC for the removal of NOM from water and, therefore, complying more successfully the latest water regulations.
Peer Reviewed
Àrees temàtiques de la UPC::Enginyeria química::Biotecnologia
Drinking water treatment units
Drinking water treatment
Granular activated carbon
Natural organic matter
Organic fractions
Aigua potable -- Depuració

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