Sorption of DOM and hydrophobic organic compounds onto sewage-based activated carbon
Journal article, 2016

Treatment of stormwater via sorption has the potential to remove both colloidal and dissolved pollutants. Previous research shows that activated carbon produced from sewage sludge is very efficient in sorbing hydrophobic organic compounds (HOCs), frequently detected in stormwater. The aim of this research was to determine whether the presence of dissolved organic matter (DOM) has a negative effect on the adsorption of HOCs onto sludge-based activated carbon (SBAC) in batch adsorption tests. Batch adsorption tests were used to investigate the influence of two types of DOM – soil organic matter and humic acid (HA) technical standard – on the sorption of HOCs onto SBAC, and whether preloading adsorbent and adsorbates with DOM affects HOC sorption. The results indicate that soil DOM and HAs do not have a significant negative effect on the adsorption of HOCs under tested experimental conditions, except for a highly hydrophobic compound. In addition, preloading SBAC or HOCs with DOM did not lead to lower adsorption of HOCs. Batch adsorption tests appear to be inefficient for investigating DOM effects on HOC adsorption, as saturating the carbon is difficult because of high SBAC adsorption capacity and low HOC solubility, so that limited competition occurs on the sorbent.

batch adsorption tests


organic stormwater pollutants

competitive adsorption

soil organic matter



Karin Björklund

Chalmers, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Water Environment Technology

University of British Columbia (UBC)

Loretta Y. Li

University of British Columbia (UBC)

Water Science and Technology

0273-1223 (ISSN)

Vol. 74 4 852-860

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)

Subject Categories

Analytical Chemistry

Water Engineering

Environmental Sciences



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