The objective of this study is to evaluate the adsorption capacity of BAC saturated with natural organic matter (NOM) for micropollutant removal which intermittently enter into water sources and to compare this to sand filtration that has no adsorbability but has biodegradability.

The removal of intermittently applied micropollutants was examined with two BAC and sand filters. Two BAC filters which have been operated for 6 and 20 months and a sand filter being used for 6 months for the treatment of reservoir water were used in this experiment. EBCT of these BAC and sand filter were 15 minutes. Bromophenol (highly adsorbable but refractory) and phenol (adsorbable and biodegradable) were used instead of targeted micropollutants. Bromophenol and phenol of about 200 μg·l−1 were applied for 24 hours.

The BAC 1, which was used for 20 months had already lost its adsorbability because it was saturated with NOM. BAC 2 filter which was used for 6 months had small adsorption capacity for NOM. As a result, either BAC 2 or BAC 1 removed bromophenol (160 μg·l−1) completely for 24 hours spike, but sand filter did not removed at all. Bromophenol can be removed only by adsorption, therefore bromophenol might be removed through adsorption by BAC. On the other hand, phenol (220 μg·l−1) whose adsorbability is lower than bromophenol, was removed completely by both BAC 1 and BAC 2.

These results indicate that micropollutants with similar adsorbability as that of phenol and bromophenol can be removed by BAC even after a long period of operation and saturation with NOM.