Influence of Carbon Agglomerate Formation on Micropollutants Removal in Combined PAC-Membrane Filtration Processes for Advanced Wastewater Treatment
Micropollutants (MPs) are ubiquitous in wastewater and are not effectively removed by the existing conventional treatment processes, resulting in increased environmental pollution. Nowadays, dosing of powdered activated carbon (PAC) prior to membrane filtration has emerged as an advanced wastewater treatment method for MPs removal. This study investigated the carbon agglomerate formation in the PAC stock suspension and its influence on MPs removal in PAC-capillary membrane filtration processes at both lab- and pilot-scale levels. Both lab- and pilot-scale membrane filtration results revealed that MPs removal efficiency is affected with the increase of PAC concentration in the stock suspension. For example, one of the investigated pilot tests showed a significantly reduced removal of good adsorbable MPs (from 57 to 17%) when stock suspension concentration was increased from 0.2 to 20 g/L. It is assumed that PAC agglomerates led to a slower adsorption kinetic and an inhomogeneous distribution of PAC in the membrane system. Maintaining PAC concentration in the stock suspension as low as possible (below 0.2 g/L for investigated PAC) certainly would help to avoid agglomeration problems and enhance the overall performance of the processes.