Purdue University Graduate School
2021.04.29 Hsin-yin Yu.pdf (1.24 MB)

Metal and Assimilable Organic Carbon Removal in Drinking Water with Reverse Osmosis and Activated Carbon Point-of-Use Systems

Download (1.24 MB)
posted on 2021-04-30, 20:29 authored by Hsin-yin YuHsin-yin Yu
Activated carbon (AC) systems and reverse osmosis (RO) systems are commonly used point-of-use (POU) water filtration systems as the last barrier to remove trace-level contaminants in tap water to protect human health. Limited studies have been done to evaluate trace-level manganese and uranium removal in tap water. Additionally, undesired microbial growth in POU systems may reduce treatment efficiencies of POU systems and limited studies have been done to evaluate microbial growth potential in POU systems. The overall research objective of this study was to systematically evaluate the removal of metals and assimilable organic carbon in POU systems. AC systems were operated to 200% of their designed treatment capacities and RO systems were operated for three weeks. The results indicated that AC systems were generally ineffective to remove metals in drinking water, while metals were effectively removed in RO systems. The results showed that calcium and magnesium were not effectively removed in AC systems with removal efficiencies of less than 1%. Various factions of iron were removed with its removal efficiencies in AC systems ranged between 61% and 84%. Copper was effectively removed in AC systems with removal efficiencies greater than 95%, which was possibly related to its low influent concentration in drinking water (<30 μg/L). Both manganese and uranium were ineffectively removed from AC systems. Different from AC systems, RO systems were consistently effective to remove all metals. Calcium, magnesium, iron, and copper were all removed with removal efficiencies greater than 98%, while removal efficiencies of manganese and uranium in RO systems were above 95%. Assimilable organic carbon was effectively removed from all AC and RO systems and high variability of AOC removal efficiencies were observed, which may be attributed to the heterogenicity of biofilm and microbial growth in POU systems. The new knowledge generated from this study can help improve our understanding of emerging contaminant removal in POU systems and develop better strategies for the design and operation of POU systems to remove emerging contaminants in drinking water and mitigate their health risks to humans.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Environmental and Ecological Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Zhi Zhou

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. Amisha D. Shah

Additional Committee Member 3

Dr. Loring F. Nies

Additional Committee Member 4

Dr. Nadezhda Zyaykina

Usage metrics


    Ref. manager