The use of powdered activated carbon (PAC) as an absorbent has become a promising option to upgrade wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) that were not designed to remove pharmaceuticals. However, PAC adsorption mechanisms are not yet fully understood, especially with regard to the nature of the wastewater. In this study, we tested the adsorption of three pharmaceuticals, namely diclofenac, sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim, onto PAC under four different water matrices: ultra-pure water, humic acid solution, effluent and mixed liquor from a real WWTP. The adsorption affinity was defined primarily by the pharmaceutical physicochemical properties (charge and hydrophobicity), with better results obtained for trimethoprim, followed by diclofenac and sulfamethoxazole. In ultra-pure water, the results show that all pharmaceuticals followed pseudo-second order kinetics, and they were limited by a boundary layer effect on the surface of the adsorbent. Depending on the water matrix and compound, the PAC capacity and the adsorption process varied accordingly. The higher adsorption capacity was observed for diclofenac and sulfamethoxazole in humic acid solution (Langmuir isotherm, R2 > 0.98), whereas better results were obtained for trimethoprim in the WWTP effluent. Adsorption in mixed liquor (Freundlich isotherm, R2 > 0.94) was limited, presumably due to its complex nature and the presence of suspended solids.

Study of the Influence of the Wastewater Matrix in the Adsorption of Three Pharmaceuticals by Powdered Activated Carbon

GUTIERREZ PULPEIRO, Marina
Primo
;
Verlicchi, Paola
Secondo
;
2023

Abstract

The use of powdered activated carbon (PAC) as an absorbent has become a promising option to upgrade wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) that were not designed to remove pharmaceuticals. However, PAC adsorption mechanisms are not yet fully understood, especially with regard to the nature of the wastewater. In this study, we tested the adsorption of three pharmaceuticals, namely diclofenac, sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim, onto PAC under four different water matrices: ultra-pure water, humic acid solution, effluent and mixed liquor from a real WWTP. The adsorption affinity was defined primarily by the pharmaceutical physicochemical properties (charge and hydrophobicity), with better results obtained for trimethoprim, followed by diclofenac and sulfamethoxazole. In ultra-pure water, the results show that all pharmaceuticals followed pseudo-second order kinetics, and they were limited by a boundary layer effect on the surface of the adsorbent. Depending on the water matrix and compound, the PAC capacity and the adsorption process varied accordingly. The higher adsorption capacity was observed for diclofenac and sulfamethoxazole in humic acid solution (Langmuir isotherm, R2 > 0.98), whereas better results were obtained for trimethoprim in the WWTP effluent. Adsorption in mixed liquor (Freundlich isotherm, R2 > 0.94) was limited, presumably due to its complex nature and the presence of suspended solids.
2023
GUTIERREZ PULPEIRO, Marina; Verlicchi, Paola; Mutavdžić Pavlović, Dragana
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/2504668
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