Competitive effects of natural organic matter: Parametrization and verification of the three-component adsorption model COMPSORB

Li Ding, Benito J. Mariñas, Lance C. Schideman, Vernon L. Snoeyink, Qilin Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Natural organic matter (NOM) hinders adsorption of trace organic compounds on powdered activated carbon (PAC) via two dominant mechanisms: direct site competition and pore blockage, COMPSORB, a three-component model that incorporates these two competitive mechanisms, was developed in a previous study to describe the removal of trace contaminants in continuous-flow hybrid PAC adsorption/membrane filtration systems. Synthetic solutions containing two model compounds as surrogates for NOM were used in the original study to elucidate competitive effects and to verify the model. In the present study, a quantitative method to characterize the components of NOM that are responsible for competitive adsorption effects in natural water was developed to extend the application of COMPSORB to natural water systems. Using batch adsorption data, NOM was differentiated into two fictive fractions, representing the strongly competing and pore blocking components, and each was treated as a single compound. The equilibrium and kinetic parameters for these fictive compounds were calculated using simplified adsorption models. This parametrization procedure was carried out on two different natural waters, and the model was verified with experimental data obtained for atrazine removal from natural water in a PAC/membrane system. The model predicted the system performance reasonably well and highlighted the importance of considering both direct site competition and pore blockage effects of NOM in modeling these systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)350-356
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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