Equilibrium model for biodegradation and adsorption of mixtures in GAC columns

Beth C. Erlanson, Bruce I. Dvorak, Gerald E. Speitel, Desmond F. Lawler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


An equilibrium model for simultaneous biodegradation and adsorption was developed and verified with existing data. For simplicity the model was restricted to only two components: one biodegradable and one not. The results from modeling over 300 hypothetical situations identified conditions where biodegradation significantly extends the service life of granular activated carbon (GAC) columns. When the nonbiodegradable chemical controls the service life, the only significant gains in service life occurred when the biodegradable and nonbiodegradable chemical had similar adsorbabilities. When the biodegradable chemical controls the service life, the service life was 1.2-7 times that with adsorption alone, depending on the relative adsorbability of the two chemicals. The increase in service life can be maximized by ensuring that biodegradation begins as soon as possible after start-up. The model provides a good screening tool for initial assessments of process feasibility, preliminary economic analyses, and planning of detailed experimental and computer modeling studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10974
Pages (from-to)469-478
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


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