A high-strength simulated industrial wastewater containing 5,900 mg/L of acetic acid, 3,000 mg/L of phenol, and 20-430 mg/L of 1,1,1-trichlorophenol (TCA) was successfully treated in an expanded-bed granular activated carbon (GAC) anaerobic reactor. Acetic acid and phenol removal efficiencies in this system were always better than 93 and 99 %, respectively, while TCA reduction was always better than 99.4 %. The adsorptive capacity of GAC was found to improve the performance efficiency of the system but was not necessary for the successful operation of the reactor. Acetate and phenol biodegradation was found to be inhibited by TCA, with a stronger effect observed on the methanogens. The treatment system was found to tolerate moderate fluctuations in the feed concentration of TCA.

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