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CP504  Getting the Best Out of Powdered Activated Carbon Water Treatment
Project Appreciation and Objectives

Powdered activated carbon (PAC) is used as an adsorbent to remove organic micropollutants from water, most commonly on a temporary basis in response to a short-term problem with pesticides, taste & odour compounds or algal toxins. It provides a flexible and low capital cost approach compared with granular activated carbon (GAC), and could be used to enhance treatment in conjunction with GAC. Decisions on PAC deployment often need to be made quickly in response to an emerging event; present guidance on selecting and using PAC is very limited. The decision process is complicated by the wide range of PAC products available, including several new types, each with particular characteristics which determine suitability for a given application. The most effective dosing point within treatment also needs to be identified. PAC is difficult to handle, presenting serious reliability and performance issues with slurry preparation and dosing equipment. The objective of the project is to address these issues by providing definitive guidance on all aspects of PAC selection and implementation for a range of micropollutants of current concern in drinking water production.

Business Benefits to Clients

  • Timely and appropriate decisions on PAC deployment made with greater confidence, with informed awareness of the benefits that provided by newer powdered adsorbents.
  • Most cost-effective implementation of low-cost capital solution within existing treatment streams.

Work Programme

  1. Comprehensive survey of PAC products through contact with the major UK suppliers and users, including identification any new products available or imminent.
  2. Extensive programme of laboratory tests, supported by analysis of targeted micropollutants, to characterise the performance of selected PACs, both established and new, for upland and lowland surface water.
  3. Case studies to capture and share operational experience, highlighting the technical challenges to using PAC and ways of dealing with these.
  4. Identify problems with handling, storage, preparation, application and dispersion of PAC, and approaches, new products or equipment to overcome these problems.

Project Output and Implementation

  • Comprehensive and definitive application guidance manual designed for use by for treatment works managers and operators.
  • Dissemination workshop to promote and support effective implementation of the guidance.

Related WRc Work

  • UKWIR Emerging Pesticides, 2010 on-going.
  • Portfolio collaborative project on metaldehyde removal, 2008.
  • Portfolio collaborative project on emerging organic micropollutants, 2007.
WRc's Portfolio Programme
Summary of the £1.5 million per annum research programme

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