Organics in Water — An Engineering Challenge

by Perry L. McCarty, (M.ASCE), Prof. of Environmental Engrg.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Stanford Univ., Stanford, Calif.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Environmental Engineering Division, 1980, Vol. 106, Issue 1, Pg. 1-17

Document Type: Journal Paper


Efforts should be made to reduce the presence of organic contaminants in water because of their potential for causing cancer, a disease equal in magnitude to the infectious diseases of the past. General principles for the removal of organics from water are presented, and the effectiveness of various treatment processes, singly and in combination, are given. General organics as represented by COD are removed effectively by chemical coagulation, activated carbon, and reverse osmosis. However, trace organics such as trihalomethanes, chlorinated solvents, chlorobenzenes, and aromatic hydrocarbons are removed most effectively by air stripping. Trihalomethane removal of greater than 70% was obtained in the relatively inexpensive stripping process following reverse osmosis treatment. Based upon Henry's law coefficients, many of the priority pollutants appear removable by this simple process.

Subject Headings: Diseases | Stripping (chemical) | Water management | Osmosis | Trihalomethanes | Oxygen demand | Coagulation | Activated carbon

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