Treatment of MTBE by Air Stripping, Carbon Adsorption, and Advanced Oxidation: Technical and Economic Comparison for Five Groundwaters


An investigation was made of the treatability of methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) in five groundwaters with highly varied water quality characteristics. Air stripping, granular activated carbon (GAC) adsorption, and the O3/H2O2 and UV/H2O2 advanced oxidation processes were compared in a mobile water treatment pilot plant under a variety of process conditions. Air stripping was shown to have the lower unit treatment costs for higher flowrates (i.e., 3800 L/min), although relatively tall towers were required for greater treatment requirements. at low flowrates (i.e., 38 L/min), advanced oxidation provided the lowest treatment costs for four of five waters (but was ineffective for a high chemical oxygen demand water). Both the O3/H2O2 and UV/H2O2 processes were more efficient at pH 7 versus 9 due in part to increased scavenging at higher pH. GAC was examined using rapid small-scale column tests (RSSCT). GAC was effective at most conditions, although it was also the most costly alternative for most waters. the results of this study can help to provide specific guidance into process selection for treating MTBE in contaminated groundwaters.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


Missouri. Department of Natural Resources

Keywords and Phrases

Advanced Oxidation; Air Stripping; Costs; Granular Activated Carbon; MTBE; Methyl Tert-Butyl Ether; Water Treatment; Ozone

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2004 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2004