Removal of micropollutants from municipal wastewater using different types of activated carbons

Farooq Sher, Kashif Hanif, Abdul Rafey, Ushna Khalid, Ayesha Zafar, Mariam Ameen, Eder C. Lima

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    89 Citations (Scopus)
    327 Downloads (Pure)


    The water reservoirs are getting polluted due to increasing amounts of micropollutants such as pharmaceuticals, organic polymers and suspended solids. Powdered activated carbon (PAC) has been proved to be a promising solution for the purification of water without having harmful impacts on the environment. Parameters such as PAC dosing, wastewater hardness, the effect of coagulant and flocculant were evaluated in a batch scale study. These parameters were further applied on a pilot plant scale for the performance evaluation of PAC based removal of micropollutants concerning the contact time and PAC dosing with main focus on recirculation of PAC sludge. The obtained optimum dose was 10–20 mg/L providing 84.40–91.30% removal efficiency of suspended solid micropollutants (MPs) and this efficiency increased to 88.90–93.00% along with coagulant which further raised by the addition of polymer and recirculation process at batch scale. On pilot plant scale, the concentration in contact reactor and PAC removal effectiveness of dissolved air flotation, lamella separator and sedimentation tank were compared. Constant optimisation resulted in a concentration ranging from 2.70 to 3.40 g/L at dosing of PAC 10 mg/L, coagulant 2.00 mg/L and polymer 0.50 mg/L. PAC doses of 10–20 mg/L with 15–30 min contact time proved best for above 70–80% elimination. The recirculation system has also proved an efficient technique because the PAC's adsorption capacity was practically completely used. Small PAC dosages yielded high micropollutants elimination.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number111302
    JournalJournal of Environmental Management
    Issue number2
    Early online date3 Nov 2020
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2021


    Foundation for Research Support of the State of Rio Grande do Sul – FAPERGS [ 19/2551-0001865-7 ] and National Council for Scientific and Technological Development – CNPq [ 303.622/2017–2 ]


    • Advanced wastewater treatment
    • Coagulation
    • Flocculation
    • Micropollutants (MPs)
    • Powdered activated carbon (PAC)
    • Sedimentation and recirculation
    • Suspended solids (SS)

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Environmental Engineering
    • Waste Management and Disposal
    • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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