Modeling nonequilibrium adsorption of MIB and sulfamethoxazole by powdered activated carbon and the role of dissolved organic matter competition

Kyle K Shimabuku, Hyukjin Cho, Eli B Townsend, Fernando L Rosario-Ortiz, R Scott Summers
Environmental Science & Technology 2014 December 2, 48 (23): 13735-42
This study demonstrates that the ideal adsorbed solution theory-equivalent background compound (IAST-EBC) as a stand-alone model can simulate and predict the powdered activated carbon (PAC) adsorption of organic micropollutants found in drinking water sources in the presence of background dissolved organic matter (DOM) under nonequilibrium conditions. The IAST-EBC represents the DOM competitive effect as an equivalent background compound (EBC). When adsorbing 2-methylisoborneol (MIB) with PAC, the EBC initial concentration was a similar percentage, on average 0.51%, of the dissolved organic carbon in eight nonwastewater impacted surface waters. Using this average percentage in the IAST-EBC model yielded good predictions for MIB removal in two nonwastewater impacted waters. The percentage of competitive DOM was significantly greater in wastewater impacted surface waters, and varied markedly in DOM size fractions. Fluorescence parameters exhibited a strong correlation with the percentage of competitive DOM in these waters. Utilizing such correlations in the IAST-EBC successfully modeled MIB and sulfamethoxazole adsorption by three different PACs in the presence of DOM that varied in competitive effect. The influence of simultaneous coagulant addition on PAC adsorption of micropollutants was also investigated. Coagulation caused the DOM competitive effect to increase and decrease with MIB and sulfamethoxazole, respectively.

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