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Adsorption of Selected Pharmaceuticals and an Endocrine Disrupting Compound by Granular Activated Carbon. 2. Model Prediction

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journal contribution
posted on 01.03.2009, 00:00 authored by Zirui Yu, Sigrid Peldszus, Peter M. Huck
The adsorption of two representative pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs)naproxen and carbamazepine and one endocrine disrupting compound (EDC)nonylphenol was studied in pilot-scale granular activated carbon (GAC) adsorbers using post-sedimentation (PS) water from a full-scale drinking water treatment plant. Acidic naproxen broke through fastest while nonylphenol was removed best, which was consistent with the degree to which fouling affected compound removals. Model predictions and experimental data were generally in good agreement for all three compounds, which demonstrated the effectiveness and robustness of the pore and surface diffusion model (PSDM) used in combination with the time-variable parameter approach for predicting removals at environmentally relevant concentrations (i.e., ng/L range). Sensitivity analyses suggested that accurate determination of film diffusion coefficients was critical for predicting breakthrough for naproxen and carbamazepine, in particular when high removals are targeted. Model simulations demonstrated that GAC carbon usage rates (CURs) for naproxen were substantially influenced by the empty bed contact time (EBCT) at the investigated conditions. Model-based comparisons between GAC CURs and minimum CURs for powdered activated carbon (PAC) applications suggested that PAC would be most appropriate for achieving 90% removal of naproxen, whereas GAC would be more suitable for nonylphenol.