Upgrading an existing post-ozonation plant with two-step granular activated carbon (GAC) filtration for assimilable organic carbon (AOC) removal was studied. The effects of ozone dose on AOC formation and its removal in the subsequent two-step GAC filtration was studied using chemically pretreated 2 to 14° C humic lake water. Two parallel pilot-plant trains with different ozone doses (0 to 1.2 mgO3/mgTOC) and a short-term ozonation study were performed. The optimum ozone dose for maximum AOC formation was 0.4–0.5 mgO3/mgTOC. The AOC-P17 of ozonated water was three-fold higher and AOC-NOX over ten-fold higher than in non-ozonated water, while the following biofiltration (first step) removed 51% and 72% of AOC-P17 and AOC-NOX, respectively. The adsorber (second step) contributed to less than 10% of the overall AOC reduction. It appeared that biofiltration is a feasible method in upgrading water treatment plants for AOC removal even when treating cold humic waters, while the subsequent adsorber seems to have less significance for AOC removal.

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