Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

R. Scott Summers

Second Advisor

Sherri Cook

Third Advisor

Christopher Corwin


As potable water reuse becomes more common, advanced wastewater treatment trains using granular activated carbon (GAC) may become more prevalent. Twenty-one rapid small-scale column tests (RSSCTs) were used to systematically evaluate GAC performance for a variety of secondary wastewater effluents at three different pretreatment levels; untreated, biofiltered, and ozonated-biofiltered. Total organic carbon (TOC) breakthrough was measured for all waters and pretreatments and compared to a predictive model developed for drinking water. The non-adsorbable and the strongly adsorbing fractions of organic matter were higher than predicted by a drinking water-based model and overall organic matter in wastewater behaved slightly differently in GAC than drinking water. The addition of ozonation decreased the adsorbability. Ultraviolet absorbance (UVA) breakthrough was measured for select waters, and a relationship between TOC and UVA was developed so that UVA can be used as a surrogate parameter for TOC. DBP formation was measured for select waters. GAC controlled DBP formation but the effluent had a larger brominated DBP species fraction than did the influent. Experimental data were used to model blended effluent performance and carbon use rate. Control of TOC before GAC treatment is the best way to ensure longer GAC life, regardless of what pretreatment is used.