Tertiary activated carbon treatment of paper and board industry wastewater

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The feasibility of activated carbon post-treatment of (biologically treated) wastewater from the paper and board industry was investigated, the goal being to remove refractory organic pollutants and produce water that can be re-used in the production process. Because closing water-circuits in the paper and board industry results in higher water temperatures, the effect of the temperature on activated carbon treatment was also investigated. Batch and column adsorption tests showed that activated carbon provides an excellent removal of cationic demand and color related compounds, the two most important representatives of organic compounds that have to be removed. Unexpectedly, higher water temperatures enhanced the performance of activated carbon. However, the treatment costs, mainly determined by transport and regeneration of the carbon, were very high. At long contact times between the wastewater and the carbon the occurrence of biodegradation was observed. Biological regeneration of the carbon may therefore provide a means to reduce the treatment costs, but a practical application requires further research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1683-1689
JournalBioresource Technology
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • mill effluent
  • pulp
  • adsorption
  • sludge


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