Remediation of MTBE from drinking water: Air stripping followed by off-gas adsorption

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The widespread use of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) as an oxygenate in gasoline has resulted in the contamination of a large number of ground and surface water sources. Even though air stripping has been proven to be an effective treatment technology for MTBE removal, off-gas treatment often is required in conjunction with it. This study evaluated the combined treatment technologies of air stripping followed by off-gas adsorption on a pilot scale for the treatment of MTBE-contaminated water. The effect of air/water ratios on the treatment efficiency was studied, and the mass transfer coefficient was determined. Air/water ratios of 105:1, 151:1, 177:1, 190:1, 202:1, and 206:1 were used, and a treatment efficiency of > 99% was achieved for all the runs conducted. The depth of packing required to achieve maximum treatment efficiency decreased with increasing air/water ratio. Relative humidity (RH) impacts on the MTBE adsorption capacity of a granular activated carbon (GAC) and carbonaceous resin were determined from pilot plant studies. Breakthrough profiles obtained from the pilot plant studies conducted at 20, 30, and 50% RH indicated that GAC has a higher adsorptive capacity than resin. The adsorptive capacity of GAC decreased with increasing RH, whereas RH did not impact the resin adsorptive capacity. © 2004 Air & Waste Management Association.

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Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association