Treatment of a colored groundwater by ozone-biofiltration: Pilot studies and modeling interpretation

Bruce E. Rittmann, Douglas Stilwell, Jason C. Garside, Gary L. Amy, Carl Spangenberg, Arseny Kalinsky, Eric Akiyoshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Pilot studies investigated the fates of color, dissolved organic carbon (DOC), and biodegradable organic matter (BOM) by the tandem of ozone plus biofiltration for treating a source water having significant color (50cu) and DOC (3.2mg/l). Transferred ozone doses were from 1.0 to 1.8g O3/g C. Rapid biofilters used sand, anthracite, or granular activated carbon as media with empty-bed contact time (EBCT) up to 9min. The pilot studies demonstrated that ozonation plus biofiltration removed most color and substantial DOC, and increasing the transferred ozone dose enhanced the removals. For the highest ozone dose, removals were as high as 90% for color and 38% for DOC. While most of the color removal took place during ozonation, most DOC removal occurred in the biofilters, particularly when the ozone dose was high. Compared to sand and anthracite biofilters, the GAC biofilter gave the best performance for color and DOC removal, but some of this enhanced performance was caused by adsorption, since the GAC was virgin at the beginning of the pilot studies. Backwashing events had no noticeable impact of the performance of the biofilters. The Transient-State, Multiple-Species Biofilm Model (TSMSBM) was used to interpret the experimental results. Model simulations show that soluble microbial products, which comprised a significant part of the effluent BOM, offset the removal of original BOM, a factor that kept the removal of DOC relatively constant over the range of EBCTs of 3.5-9min. Although improved biofilm retention, represented by a small detachment rate, allowed more total biofilm accumulation and greater removal of original BOM, it also caused more release of soluble microbial products and the build up of inert biomass in the biofilm. Backwashing had little impact on biofilter performance, because it did not remove more than 25% of the biofilm under any condition simulated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3387-3397
Number of pages11
JournalWater Research
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Biofiltration
  • Color
  • Modeling
  • Ozonation
  • Pilot studies
  • Soluble microbial products

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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