An expanded-bed anaerobic reactor with granular activated carbon (GAC) medium has been developed to treat wastewaters that contain a high concentration of inhibitory and/or refractory organic compounds as well as readily degradable organic compounds. The process is characterised by a combination of two removal mechanisms; adsorption on GAC and biological degradation by microorganisms grown on GAC. Applicability of the reactor to treatment of phenol, chloroacetaldehyde (CAA), pentachlorophenol (PCP) and tetrachloroethylene (PCE) was discussed based on experimental data. All chemicals focused on here were removed well and stably at a removal efficiency of more than 98% even during starting operation and shock load operation. Chemicals in influent that exceeded biological degradation capacity was initially adsorbed on GAC and then gradually degraded, and hence the adsorptive capacity of GAC was regenerated biologically. These results proved that a biological activated carbon anaerobic reactor was effective for treatment of wastewater containing hazardous chemicals, especially for strongly absorbable chemicals, as well as readily degradable organic compounds at high concentration.

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