Submicron powdered activated carbon (PAC) rapidly adsorbed natural organic matter (NOM) fromwater samples: a batch test of the adsorption kinetics showed that the NOM concentration dropped substantially within 15 s and then leveled off. In a tubular flow reactor test, NOM removal after a 15 s contact time was almost the same as removal values attained at longer contact times. Laboratory-scale and bench-scale pilotplant ceramic microfiltration (MF) experiments with submicron PAC adsorption pretreatment were conducted to evaluate NOM removal and to examine the effect of the PAC on filterability. The laboratory scale MF experiment revealed that PAC adsorption pretreatment could be accomplished with a detention (2.4 s) that was much shorter than the time expected from the adsorption kinetics test. This result suggests that adsorption pretreatment for MF could be accomplished by adding the submicron PAC directly into the feed line to the membrane and that installation of a special PAC contactor before the membrane unit is unnecessary. Although micron PAC rather than submicron PAC was used unintentionally in the pilot plant experiment, these PAC showed much better NOM removal than normal PAC, and no adverse effects, such as transmembrane pressure buildup and reversible or irreversible membrane fouling, were observed.

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