Effects of Backwashing on Granular Activated Carbon with Ammonium Removal Potential

Effects of Backwashing on Granular Activated Carbon with Ammonium Removal Potential

Effects of Backwashing on Granular Activated Carbon with Ammonium Removal Potential in a Full-Scale Drinking Water Purification Plant

Jia Niu, Ikuro Kasuga, Futoshi Kurisu  and Hiroaki Furumai 

Abstract

Granular activated carbon (GAC) has been widely introduced to advanced drinking water purification plants to remove organic matter and ammonium. Backwashing, which is the routine practice for GAC maintenance, is an important operational factor influencing the performance of GAC and its microbial biomass. In this study, the effects of backwashing on the ammonium removal potential of GAC were evaluated. In addition, abundances of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) on GAC were analyzed. GAC samples before and after backwashing were collected from a full-scale drinking water purification plant. Samplings were conducted before and after implementation of prechlorination of raw water.

The results showed that the ammonium removal potential of the GAC increased by 12% after backwashing before prechlorination (p< 0.01). After implementing the prechlorination, the ammonium removal potential of the GAC decreased by 12% even after backwashing (p< 0.01). The AOA was predominant on the GAC in the two samplings. Regardless of prechlorination, the amounts of the AOA and the AOB remained at the same level before and after backwashing. Analysis of the backwashing water indicated that the amounts of the AOA and AOB washed out from the GAC were negligible (0.08%–0.26%) compared with their original amounts on the GAC.

These results revealed the marginal role of backwashing on the biomass of ammonia oxidizers on GAC. However, the results also revealed that backwashing could have a negative impact on the ammonium removal potential of GAC during prechlorination.

Keywords : ammonia-oxidizing archaea; ammonia-oxidizing bacteria; backwashing; ammonium removal potential; prechlorination; granular activated carbon

Water 2018, 10(12), 1830; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10121830

Source: mdpi.com