Organic characterisation in rainwater was investigated in terms of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and molecular weight distribution (MWD) after powdered activated carbon (PAC) adsorption. PAC adsorption was used as pretreatment to membrane filtration to reduce membrane fouling. The MW of organic matter in rainwater used in this study was in the range of 43,000 Da to 30 Da. Each peak of organic matter consisted of biopolymers (polysaccharides and proteins), humic and fulvic acids, building blocks, low MW acids (hydrolysates of humic substances), low MW neutrals and amphiphilics. Rainwater contained the majority of hydrophilic compounds up to 72%. PAC adsorption removed 33% of total DOC. The removal efficiencies of the hydrophobic and hydrophilic fractions after PAC adsorption were 50% and 27%, respectively. PAC adsorption was found to preferentially remove the hydrophobic fraction. The majority of the smaller MW of 1,100 Da, 820 Da, 550 Da, 90 Da and 30 Da was removed after PAC adsorption. The MFI values decreased from 1,436 s/L2 to 147 s/L2 after PAC adsorption. It was concluded that PAC adsorption can be used as a pretreatment to membrane filtration with rainwater.

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