Granular activated carbon (GAC) filters can be used to reduce emissions of organic micropollutants via municipal wastewater, but it is still uncertain to which extent biological degradation contributes to their removal in GAC filters. 14C-labeled organic micropollutants were therefore used to distinguish degradation from adsorption in a GAC-filter media with associated biofilm. The rates and extents of biological degradation and adsorption were investigated and compared with other biofilm systems, including a moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) and a sand filter, by monitoring 14C activities in the liquid and gas phases. The microbial cleavage of ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, and mecoprop was confirmed for all biofilms, based on the formation of 14CO2, whereas the degradation of 14C-labeled moieties of sulfamethoxazole and carbamazepine was undetected. Higher degradation rates for diclofenac were observed for the GAC-filter media than for the other biofilms. Degradation of previously adsorbed diclofenac onto GAC could be confirmed by the anaerobic adsorption and subsequent aerobic degradation by the GAC-bound biofilm. This study demonstrates the potential use of 14C-labeled micropollutants to study interactions and determine the relative contributions of adsorption and degradation in GAC-based treatment systems.
Swedish Standard Keywords
- Environmental Sciences (10502)
- Water Treatment (20803)
- Water Engineering (20107)
- granular activated carbon