Effective manganese removal by conventional aeration-filtration with virgin filter media requires a long ripening time. The aim of this study was to assess the potential of manganese oxide-coated media to shorten the ripening time of filters with virgin media under practical conditions. A full-scale filter filled with virgin sand and a full-scale filter filled with anthracite/sand were operated at two groundwater treatment plants, in parallel with (full-scale) test filters, with an additional layer of manganese oxide-coated sand (MOCS) or manganese oxide-coated anthracite (MOCA). Significantly different ripening times were observed to achieve an effective manganese removal: 55 days for a filter with virgin sand and 16 days for a filter with virgin anthracite/sand. The observed differences could be attributed to different feed water quality, different iron loading, and backwashing intensity and frequency. In batch experiments fresh MOCA and MOCS showed good manganese adsorptive properties. Addition of a shallow layer of fresh MOCA in test filters eliminated the ripening time, while a layer of aged MOCS did not significantly shorten the ripening period. The poor performance of the aged MOCS was probably caused by changed properties of aged and dried MOCS, that had lost its adsorption capacity, auto-catalytic activity and biological activity.

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