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Influence of the properties of 7 micro-grain activated carbons on organic micropollutants removal from wastewater effluent

Guillossou, Ronan, Le Roux, Julien, Mailler, Romain, Morlay, Catherine, Vulliet, Emmanuelle, Nauleau, Fabrice, Rocher, Vincent, Gasperi, Johnny
Chemosphere 2020 v.243 pp. 125306
activated carbon, adsorption, commercialization, dissolved organic matter, effluents, hydrophobicity, micropores, particle size, porous media, texture, wastewater
Most studies dedicated to organic micropollutants (OMPs) removal from wastewater effluents by adsorption onto activated carbon (AC) only consider a few conventional AC properties. The link between OMPs removal and these properties is often missing, which limits the understanding of the adsorption process and the interpretation of the results. The chemical, physical and textural properties of seven newly commercialized micro-grain activated carbons (μGACs) were determined to assess their influence on the removal of 28 OMPs. Conventional batch tests with wastewater effluent showed that a high percentage of microporous volume (>65%) was detrimental for the removal of 10 OMPs, probably due to a higher blockage of micropores by dissolved organic matter (DOM). The removal of 5 OMPs was correlated with μGACs surface chemistry properties (i.e. charge) which were potentially modified by DOM adsorption or inorganic species, thus favoring the adsorption of positively-charged compounds. A combination of OMPs properties including their charge, hydrophobicity and minimal projection area could explain their removal. Correlations were found between the removal of several OMPs and UV₂₅₄, suggesting that DOM and OMPs interacted with each other or followed similar adsorption mechanisms. A decrease in μGACs particle size had a positive impact on UV₂₅₄ removal under continuous-flow conditions in columns representative of a large-scale pilot due to better expansion.