The effectiveness of different treatments with powdered activated carbons (PAC) to reduce the AOX-levels in municipal wastewater was investigated in a bench-scale activated sludge (AS) treatment plant. The PAC was added either directly to the aerated basin (simultaneous PAC-treatment), or to a partial stream of clarified effluent, which was treated with PAC in an agitated tank and recirculated to the aerated basin (subsequent PAC-treatment with recirculation). The standard advanced biological treatment reduced the AOX-content by 24%. In the pilot-plant, three types of powdered activated carbons were tested for a simultaneous treatment. The treatment with 100 mg/l PICA PCO Super produced an additional reduction of AOX by 20%, whereas a dosage of 50 mg/l NORIT W-20 showed no enhancement effect, and W-35 led to an additional AOX-removal of about 9%. Also, an improved removal of DOC, NH4-N and PO4-P was observed. In all cases, the PAC addition caused a significantly improved settling of the AS, reducing the sludge-volume-index, and increasing the content of volatile solids of the PAC-sludge. In general, no evidence of a synergistic effect of the PAC addition to activated sludge, nor bioregeneration of the activated carbon, could be observed. This suggests, that the observed effects probably are caused only by simple adsorption.

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