A small full-scale ozonation/biofiltration plant was operated for 1.5 years in mid-Norway. A three-media biofilter was used to remove biodegradable organic matter from ozonated water. The biofilter contained granular activated carbon (GAC), phonolith and CaCO3 and was operated at 26-30 min. empty bed contact time. The water temperature varied between 2 and 14°C but the biofilter was operated most of the time at temperatures below 10°C. Total phosphorus concentration in the raw water was also very low (1.1-2.0 μg L-1). Batch tests showed that low phosphorus concentration and low temperature are potential limitations for microbial growth and organic carbon removal. Initially, the GAC adsorbed organic carbon while the microbial activity was building up. Most of the adsorption capacity was used after 1.5 months of operation. After this period, 14-33% of the TOC was removed (average 23%). Although the overall TOC removal in the process was modest, average BDOC removal of 55% was observed even at 3°C. Ozonation was effective in reducing colour with average removal of 80%. The results show that significant biological activity can be achieved and maintained in biofilter treating ozonated water even at low temperatures and phosphorus limited conditions.

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