Powdered activated carbon treatment
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Powdered Activated Carbon Treatment (PACT) is a wastewater technology in which powdered activated carbon is added to an anaerobic or aerobic treatment system. The carbon in the biological treatment process acts as a "buffer" against the effects of toxic organics in the wastewater. Powdered Activated Carbon is also used in the processing of drinking water at treatment facilities, primarily on a seasonal basis in order to deal with aesthetic problems with the water such as odor and taste issues associated with Geosmin and 2-MIB.
In such a system, biological treatment and carbon adsorption are combined into a single, synergistic treatment step. The result is a system which offers significant cost reduction compared to activated sludge and granular carbon treatment options. The addition of the powdered activated carbon stabilizes biological systems against upsets and shock loading, controls color and odor, and may reduce disposal costs while removing soluble organics.
The system as it exists today was developed in the 1970s under a collaborative effort between DuPont and Zimpro. PACT systems can be used to treat industrial wastewater, landfill leachate and highly contaminated surface water or groundwater.
In an aerobic treatment system, influent first enters an aeration tank where the powdered carbon is added, making up a portion of mixed liquor suspended solids. Once the aeration is completed, the treated wastewater and the carbon-biomass slurry are allowed to settle.
Following treatment, a portion of the carbon and biomass slurry is wasted to solids handling. These solids can be wasted and disposed of as a slurry, dewatered to a compact, stable cake, or pumped as a slurry to a wet air oxidation unit for further processing to regenerate the carbon and destroy the biological solids.