Water research

Adsorption of geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol onto powdered activated carbon at non-equilibrium conditions: influence of NOM and process modelling.

PMID 21752419


The adsorption of the taste and odour (T&O) compounds geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol (2-MIB) onto powdered activated carbon (PAC) has been studied under conditions which are typical for a drinking water treatment plant that uses reservoir water for drinking water production. The reservoir water as well as the pre-treated water (after flocculation) contains NOM that competes with the trace compounds for the adsorption sites on the carbon surface. Although the DOC concentrations in the reservoir water and in the pre-treated water were different, no differences in the competitive adsorption could be seen. By using two special characterisation methods for NOM (adsorption analysis, LC/OCD) it could be proved that flocculation removes only NOM fractions which are irrelevant for competitive adsorption. Different model approaches were applied to describe the competitive adsorption of the T&O compounds and NOM, the tracer model, the equivalent background compound model, and the simplified equivalent background compound model. All these models are equilibrium models but in practice the contact time in flow-through reactors is typically shorter than the time needed to establish the adsorption equilibrium. In this paper it is demonstrated that the established model approaches can be used to describe competitive adsorption of T&O compounds and NOM also under non-equilibrium conditions. The results of the model applications showed that in particular the simplified equivalent background compound model is a useful tool to determine the PAC dosage required to reduce the T&O compounds below the threshold concentration.

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