Landfill leachate pretreated in an aerobic biological stage was studied with respect to the adsorption behaviour of its organic components with and without preoxidation by different amounts of ozone. Isotherm data evaluated by adsorption analysis showed that the fractions of non-adsorbable and weakly adsorbable species had been increased after preoxidation. As a result, the carbon capacity in a fixed-bed adsorption process was expected to be significantly lower for preoxidized leachate. This conclusion was confirmed by data from column experiments. The breakthrough curves under operating conditions typical for leachate treatment could be predicted quite well by the homogeneous surface diffusion model when no preoxidation was applied. After preozonation about 40% of the remaining organic substances were biodegradable. Data evaluation revealed that biodegradation took place inside the activated carbon beds. Therefore the total removal of ozonated leachate in activated carbon columns will be higher than the removal due to adsorption processes. An economic analysis must show in any practical case whether a combination of preoxidation and adsorption will be more cost-efficient than either of the single processes. The modelling technique applied in this study can be a useful tool for that purpose.

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