Assessment of Technical and Economic Feasibility of Activated Charcoal Removal of Organic Matter from Different Streams of Grey Water Through Study of Adsorption Isotherms
American Journal of Environmental Protection
Volume 5, Issue 3, June 2016, Pages: 56-64
Received: May 6, 2016; Accepted: May 16, 2016; Published: May 30, 2016
Views 3754      Downloads 111
Ababu T. Tiruneh, Department of Environmental Health Science, University of Swaziland, Mbabane, Swaziland
Amos O. Fadiran, Department of Chemistry, University of Swaziland, Kwaluseni, Swaziland
William N. Ndlela, Department of Environmental Health Science, University of Swaziland, Mbabane, Swaziland
Jonna Heikkilä, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Turku, Finland
Article Tools
Follow on us
The feasibility of household level treatment of grey water with activated charcoal was performed using laboratory batch adsorption testing on locally available charcoal media. The study results indicated that the potential for removal of organic matter was significantly high for the high pH cloth wash water compared to the low pH kitchen wastewater which also contained non-adsorbed organics. The addition of ash considerably improved the removal and projected life length of adsorption media for kitchen wastewater treatment. The adsorption isotherms obtained were all modeled adequately using the Freundlich isotherm while the isotherm shapes display different types of adsorption for the different streams of grey water because of the heterogeneous nature of the adsorbates in grey water. The replacement life length of activated charcoal for single drum household level treatment ranged between 7 and 15 months. For family daily flow rates up to 400 lit/day, the replacement costs of a single drum charcoal per cubic meter of grey water treated were calculated to be below the current tariff levels for acquiring water in cities in Swaziland. A considerable part of the grey water pollutant can be removed through pretreatment by sorption alone such as by filtration through sand or other cheap media before adsorption. For complete household level treatment of grey water, a three-step treatment consisting of sand pre-filtration, activated charcoal adsorption and sand post-filtration are recommended.
Grey Water Treatment, Activated Charcoal, Water Recycling, Wastewater Treatment, Adsorption Isotherm, Pollutant Removal
To cite this article
Ababu T. Tiruneh, Amos O. Fadiran, William N. Ndlela, Jonna Heikkilä, Assessment of Technical and Economic Feasibility of Activated Charcoal Removal of Organic Matter from Different Streams of Grey Water Through Study of Adsorption Isotherms, American Journal of Environmental Protection. Vol. 5, No. 3, 2016, pp. 56-64. doi: 10.11648/j.ajep.20160503.13
Copyright © 2016 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Pidou MA, Memmon FA, Stephenson T, Jefferson B, Jeffrey P (2007). Grey water recycling: A review of treatment options and applications. Engineering Sustainability, 160: 119-131.
Edwin GA, Gopalsamy P, and Muthu N (2014) Characterization of domestic gray water from point source to determine the potential for urban residential reuse: a short review. Appl Water Sci. 4: 39–49.
USACE: Us Army Corps of Engineers (2001) Adsorption design guide. Design Guide No. 1110-1-2.
Nansubuga I, Meerburg F, Banadda, N, Rabaey K, Verstrete W (2015). A two stage decentralized system combining high rate activated sludge with alternating charcoal filters for treating small community sewage to reusable standards in agriculture. African journal of Biotechnology Vol (14) 7, pp. 593-603.
Thomas CV, Walter J, Weber JR (1983) Sorption of hydrophobic compounds by sediments, soils and suspended solids - theory and background. Water Res. Vol. 17, No. 10, pp. 1433-1441.
Nethaji S, Sivasamy A, Mandal, AB (2013) Adsorption isotherms, kinetics and mechanism for the adsorption of cationic and anionic dyes onto carbonaceous particles prepared from Juglans regia shell biomass. Int. J. Environ. Sci. Technol. 10:231–242.
Site AD (2001) Factors Affecting Sorption of Organic Compounds in Natural Sorbent Water Systems and Sorption Coefficients for Selected Pollutants: A Review. Phys. Chem. Ref. Data, Vol. 30, No. 1
Harris CI and Warren GF (1964) Adsorption and desorption of herbicides by soil. Weeds 12: 120-126.
El-Khaiary MI, Hameed BH (2008) Malachite green adsorption by rattan sawdust: Isotherm, kinetic and mechanism modeling. J Hazard Mater 159:574–579.
Li QL, Snoeyink VL, Mariaas BJ, Campos C (2003) Elucidating competitive adsorption mechanisms of atrazine and NOM using model compounds. Water Res. 37(4): 773-784.
Brusseau ML, Larsen T and Christensen TH (1991) Rate-limited sorption and non-equilibrium transport of organic chemicals in low organic carbon aquifer materials. Water Resour. Res. 27, 1137.
Picer N, Picer M, Strohal P (1977) The interaction of DDT with suspended particles in sea water. Water, Air, Soil Pollut. 8: 429-440.
Hernandeza OR (2004). To treat or not to treat? Applying chemical engineering tools and a life cycle approach to assessing the level of sustainability of a clean-up technology. Green Chem., 6: 395-400.
Flagan J, Richard C. and Seinfeld John H (1988) Fundamentals of air pollution engineering. Prentice-Hall Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey ISBN 0-13-332537-7, pp. 479-520.
APHA (1999) Standard Methods for the examination of Water and Wastewater: Chemical Oxygen Demand, 5220, # (102). American Public Health Association, American Water Works Association, Water Environment Federation.
Weber WJ. Jr (1972) Physicochemical processes for water quality control, Wiley-Interscience, New York. 640 pp.
Klobucar JM, Pilat MJ (1992). Continuous flow thermal decomposition of VOC’s from activated carbon. Environmental progress 11(1): 11-17.
Farrell J, Reinhard M (1994) Desorption of halogenated organics from model solids, sediments, and soil under unsaturated conditions. Environ. Sci. Technol 28 (1): 53–62.
Haque R. and Coshow WR (1971) Adsorption of isocil and bromacil from aqueous solution onto some mineral surfaces. Environmental Science and Technology 197; 5(2): 139-141.
Pignatello JJ (2000) The measurement and interpretation of sorption and desorption rates for organic compounds in soil media. Adv. Agron. 69: 1–73.
Rao PSC, Davidson JM (1979) Adsorption and movement of selected pesticides at high concentrations in soils. Water Res., 13: 375-380.
Science Publishing Group
1 Rockefeller Plaza,
10th and 11th Floors,
New York, NY 10020
Tel: (001)347-983-5186