Efficiency of the activated carbon filtration in the natural organic matter removal

Environ Int. 2006 Apr;32(3):324-31. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2005.06.003. Epub 2005 Aug 8.


The removal and transformation of natural organic matter were monitored in the different stages of the drinking water treatment train. Several methods to measure the quantity and quality of organic matter were used. The full-scale treatment sequence consisted of coagulation, flocculation, clarification by flotation, disinfection with chlorine dioxide, activated carbon filtration and post-chlorination. High-performance size-exclusion chromatography separation was used to determine the changes in the humic substances content during the purification process; in addition, a UV absorbance at wavelength 254 nm and total organic carbon amount were measured. A special aim was to study the performance and the capacity of the activated carbon filtration in the natural organic matter removal. Four of the activated carbon filters were monitored over the period of 1 year. Depending on the regeneration of the activated carbon filters, filtration was effective to a degree but did not significantly remove the smallest molar mass organic matter fraction. Activated carbon filtration was most effective in the removal of intermediate molar mass compounds (range 1,000-4,000 g/mol). Regeneration of the carbon improved the removal capacity considerably, but efficiency was returned to a normal level after few months.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carbon*
  • Chlorine Compounds / chemistry
  • Chromatography, Gel
  • Filtration
  • Finland
  • Flocculation
  • Humic Substances*
  • Oxides / chemistry
  • Water Pollutants*
  • Water Purification / methods*
  • Water Supply


  • Chlorine Compounds
  • Humic Substances
  • Oxides
  • Water Pollutants
  • Carbon
  • chlorine dioxide