Removal of micropollutants with coarse-ground activated carbon for enhanced separation with hydrocyclone classifiers

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

One key technology to eliminate organic micropollutants (OMP) from wastewater effluent is adsorption using powdered activated carbon (PAC). To avoid a discharge of highly loaded PAC particles into natural water bodies a separation stage has to be implemented. Commonly large settling tanks and flocculation filters with the application of coagulants and flocculation aids are used. In this study, a multi-hydrocyclone classifier with a downstream cloth filter has been investigated on a pilot plant as a space-saving alternative with no need for a dosing of chemical additives. To improve the separation, a coarser ground PAC type was compared to a standard PAC type with regard to elimination results of OMP as well as separation performance. With a PAC dosing rate of 20 mg/l an average of 64.7 wt% of the standard PAC and 79.5 wt% of the coarse-ground PAC could be separated in the hydrocyclone classifier. A total average separation efficiency of 93–97 wt% could be reached with a combination of both hydrocyclone classifier and cloth filter. Nonetheless, the OMP elimination of the coarse-ground PAC was not sufficient enough to compete with the standard PAC. Further research and development is necessary to find applicable coarse-grained PAC types with adequate OMP elimination capabilities.

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