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Towards application of activated carbon treatment for pharmaceutical removal in municipal wastewater
KTH, School of Biotechnology (BIO), Industrial Biotechnology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1621-4321
2016 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Many pharmaceuticals are found in municipal wastewater effluents due to their persistence in the human body as well as in conventional wastewater treatment processes. This discharge to the environment can lead to adverse effects in aquatic species, such as feminization of male fish. During the past decade, these findings have spawned investigations and research into suitable treatment technologies that could severely limit the discharge. Adsorption onto activated carbon has been identified as one of the two main technologies for implementation of (future) full-scale treatment.

Recent research has put a closer focus on adsorption with powdered activated carbon (PAC) than on granular activated carbon (GAC). Studies where both methods are compared in parallel operation are thus still scarce and such evaluation in pilot-scale was therefore a primary objective of this thesis. Furthermore, recirculation of PAC can be used to optimize the treatment regarding the carbon consumption. Such a setup was evaluated as a separate treatment stage to comply with Swedish wastewater convention. Additionally, variation of a set of process parameters was evaluated.

During successive operation at three different wastewater treatment plants an overall pharmaceutical removal of 95% could consistently be achieved with both methods. Furthermore, treatment with GAC was sensitive to a degraded effluent quality, which severely reduced the hydraulic capacity. Both treatment methods showed efficient removal of previously highlighted substances, such as carbamazepine and diclofenac, however in general a lower adsorption capacity was observed for GAC. By varying the input of process parameters, such as the continuously added dose or the contact time, during PAC treatment, a responsive change of the pharmaceutical removal could be achieved. The work in this thesis contributes some valuable field experience towards wider application of these treatment technologies in full-scale.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2016. , 41 p.
Series
TRITA-BIO-Report, ISSN 1654-2312 ; 2016:20
Keyword [en]
advanced wastewater treatment, granular activated carbon, powdered activated carbon, municipal wastewater treatment, pharmaceutical removal
National Category
Water Treatment
Research subject
Biotechnology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-196862ISBN: 978-91-7729-197-8OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-196862DiVA: diva2:1049412
Presentation
2016-12-19, FB55, AlbaNova Universitetscentrum, Roslagstullsbacken 21, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
MistraPharma
Funder
Mistra - The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research
Note

QC 20161124

Available from: 2016-11-24 Created: 2016-11-24 Last updated: 2016-11-24Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Pilot-scale removal of pharmaceuticals in municipal wastewater: Comparison of granular and powdered activated carbon treatment at three wastewater treatment plants
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Pilot-scale removal of pharmaceuticals in municipal wastewater: Comparison of granular and powdered activated carbon treatment at three wastewater treatment plants
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Adsorption with activated carbon is widely suggested as an alternative for the removal of organic micropollutants including pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs) in wastewater. In this study adsorption with granular (GAC) and powdered (PAC) activated carbon was analyzed and compared in parallel operation at three Swedish wastewater treatment plants with the goal to achieve a 95% PhAC removal. Initially, mapping of the prevalence of over 100 substances was performed at each plant and due to low concentrations a final 22 were selected for further evaluation. These include carbamazepine, clarithromycin and diclofenac all previously highlighted as targets of specific importance. A number of commercially available activated carbon products were initially screened using effluent wastewater. Of these, a reduced set was selected based on adsorption characteristics and cost. Experiments designed with the selected carbons in pilot-scale showed that most products could indeed remove PhACs to the target level, both on total and individual basis. In a setup using internal recirculation the PAC system achieved a 95% removal applying a fresh dose of 15-20 mg/L, while carbon usage rates for the GAC application were much broader and ranged from < 28 to 230 mg/L depending on the carbon product. The performance of the PAC products generally gave much better results for individual PhACs in regards to carbon availability. All carbon products showed a specific adsorption for a specific PhAC meaning that knowledge of the target pollutants must be acquired before successful design of a treatment system. In spite of different configurations and operating conditions of the different wastewater treatment plants no considerable differences regarding pharmaceutical removal were observed.

Keyword
Advanced wastewater treatment, Adsorption, GAC, PAC, Pharmaceutical removal
National Category
Water Treatment
Research subject
Biotechnology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-195703 (URN)
Projects
Mistra Pharma
Funder
Mistra - The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research
Note

QC 20161124

Available from: 2016-11-08 Created: 2016-11-08 Last updated: 2016-11-24Bibliographically approved
2. Effects of recirculation in a three-tank pilot-scale system for pharmaceutical removal with powdered activated carbon
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Effects of recirculation in a three-tank pilot-scale system for pharmaceutical removal with powdered activated carbon
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The removal of pharmaceutically active compounds by powdered activated carbon (PAC) in municipal wastewater is a promising solution to problem of polluted recipient waters. Today, an efficient design strategy is however lacking in particular with regard to high-level overall, but also specific, substance removal for operation in the large scale. The performance of PAC-based removal of pharmaceuticals was studied in pilot-scale with respect to the critical parameters; contact time and PAC dose using one PAC product selected by screening in bench-scale. The goal was a minimum of 95% removal of the pharmaceuticals present in the evaluated municipal wastewater. A set of 21 pharmaceuticals was selected from an initial 100 due to their high occurrence in the effluent water of two selected wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in Sweden, whereof candidates discussed for future EU regulation directives were included. A combination of the benefits of powdered and granular carbon performance was achieved by the recirculation of PAC over a three-tank sequential contact line, where recirculation could be introduced in any of the three tanks to investigate the importance for the adsorption performance. This was compared to use of the setup, but without recirculation. A higher degree of pharmaceutical removal was achieved in all recirculation setups, both with respect to overall and specific substances, as compared to without recirculation. Recirculation was tested with nominal contact times of 30, 60 and 120 minutes and the goal of 95% removal could be achieved already at the shortest times at a PAC dose of 10-15 mg/L. In particular the overall removal could be increased even to 97% and 99%, at 60 and 120 min, respectively, when the recirculation point was the first tank. Recirculation of PAC to either the first or the second contact tank proved to be comparable, while a slightly weaker performance was observed with introduced in the third tank. With regards to individual substances, clarithromycin and diclofenac were ubiquitously removed according to the set goal and in contrast, a few substances (fluconazole, irbesartan, memantine and venlafaxine) required specific settings to reach an acceptable removal.

Keyword
Adsorption, Advanced wastewater treatment, Municipal wastewater, PAC, Pharmaceuticals, Recirculation
National Category
Water Treatment
Research subject
Biotechnology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-195707 (URN)
Projects
Mistra Pharma
Funder
Mistra - The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research
Note

QC 20161124

Available from: 2016-11-08 Created: 2016-11-08 Last updated: 2016-11-24Bibliographically approved

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