Evaluation of backwash strategies on biologically active carbon filters by using chloroacetic acids as indicator chemicals

Shi Ting Liu, Hong Wei Yang, Wen Jun Liu, Yu Zhao, Xiao Mao Wang, Yuefeng F. Xie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Disinfectant-enhanced backwash is frequently required to control the over-growth of biomass in biologically active carbon (BAC) filters for drinking water treatment. This study was conducted to investigate the impact of different backwashing strategies on the biodegradation and adsorption performance of BAC filters and attached biomass concentration in the filters. The biodegradation performance was evaluated using the three chloroacetic acids (CAAs) as indicator chemicals. Results showed that both free chlorine- and chloramines-enhanced backwashes could significantly increase the removal efficiency of attached biomass, but they also impaired the CAA degradation in BAC filters. The deterioration of CAA degradation could not be correlated with the removed attached biomass. Use of CAAs was a feasible approach to evaluate the biodegradation performance of BAC filters either during operation or after backwash. Chloramines-enhanced backwash is suggested to be employed to sustain the operation of BAC filters when excessive biomass growth takes place, due to its higher efficiency in removing attached biomass and lower adverse impact on BAC adsorption properties compared with free chlorine-enhanced backwash. However, the more pronounced adverse impact on organic matter degradation and the inconvenience of using chloraminated water must be considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)886-894
Number of pages9
JournalProcess Biochemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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