Removal of phenols from wastewater at Tema Oil Refinery

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Several types of water treatment technologies, including adsorption, are now being used to treat polluted water or wastewater. Activated carbons are successfully applied for purification of potable water and the removal of some organic pollutants in wastewater. In this work the removal of phenols in refinery wastewater by activated carbon adsorption has been investigated. The use of activated carbon is significant as a low cost approach to treating wastewater to remove both organic and heavy metals. The carbons used in this study were commercially obtainable and are prepared from coconut shell (CARB-A), peat (CARB-B) and TOR-1, TOR-2 and TOR-3 (all prepared from wood). The study showed that high efficiencies (of above 90% removal) could be achieved for wastewaters containing more than 50mg/L phenol. The performance efficiency of the various carbons indicated that the granular TOR-l, TOR-2 carbons gave the best removal efficiencies. The CARB-A variety was a better adsorbent of phenols than the CARB-B. The breakthrough curve and with it the breakthrough point were determined for the various carbons to enable the engineering design of the adsorption column to meet prescribed effluent standards. The Ogata and Banks model was used to validate data. The results showed that CARB-B carbon deviated from the normal behaviour of mass transport through porous media. The data strengthens the granular TOR-2 carbon as the best to achieve the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) permissible effluent concentration of 2ppm.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Metallurgical Engineering in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Environmental Resources Management, 2003