A range of commercial granular activated carbon (GAC) media have been assessed as pretreatment technologies for a downstream microfiltration (MF) process. Media were assessed on the basis of reduction in both organic matter and turbidity, since these are known to cause fouling in MF membranes. Isotherm adsorption analysis through jar testing with supplementary column trials revealed a wide variation between the different adsorbent materials with regard to organics removal and adsorption kinetics. Comparison with previous work using powdered activated carbon (PAC) revealed that for organic removal above 60% the use of GAC media incurs a significantly lower carbon usage rate than PAC. All GACs tested achieved a minimum of 80% turbidity removal. This combination of turbidity and organic removal suggests that GAC would be expected to provide a significant reduction in fouling of a downstream MF process with improved product water quality.

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