The musty-earthy taste and odour caused by the presence of geosmin and other compounds in tap water are major causes of consumer complaints. Although ozonation and granular activated carbon (GAC) adsorption have been practiced in water-treatment plants to remove these compounds effectively, two major problems associated with the application of these processes – formation of stringently regulated bromate ions by ozonation and unhygienic invertebrate colonisation of GAC filters – are still to be resolved. This research advanced the process of adsorption by powdered activated carbon (PAC) by reducing its particle size to the submicrometre range for microfiltration pretreatment. Adsorption pretreatment by using this super (S)-PAC removed the geosmin with vastly greater efficiency than by normal PAC. Removal was attained in a much shorter contact time and at a much lower dosage. The S-PAC was also beneficial in attenuating the transmembrane pressure rises that occurred between both physical backwashings and chemical cleanings.

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