Granular Activated Carbon GAC

Which Chemicals Will Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) Adsorb?  A Quick Reference Guide.

I get asked all the time about specific chemicals and the probability of being adsorbed by Granular Activated Carbon.   Below is a quick reference guide.   Always ask your carbon supplier for the GAC Adsorption  isotherm for the chemical you want to remove.  The GAC Isotherm will show you the mg of chemical adsorbed per mg of GAC at constant temperature.   Also, bench scale testing is important as certain adsorption rates are affected by pH, soaps and by the presence of Chelating Compounds such as EDTA.

Group 1: Chemicals readily adsorbed by Granular Activated Carbon (GAC)

GAC commonly used to remove these chemicals in waste water.  High adsorption rate/gram of GAC and low contact times.

2,4-D Deisopropyltatrazine Linuron
Alachlor Desethylatrazine Malathion
Aldrin Demeton-O MCPA
Anthracene Di-n-butylphthalate Mecoprop
Atrazine 1,2-Dichlorobenzene Metazachlor
Azinphos-ethyl 1,3-Dichlorobenzene 2-Methyl benzenamine
Bentazone 1,4-Dichlorobenzene Methyl naphthalene
Biphenil 2,4-Dichlorocresol 2-Methylbutane
2,2-Bipyridine 2,5-Dichlorophenol Monuron
Bis(2-Ethylhexyl)Phthalate 3,6-Dichlorophenol Napthalene
Bromacil 2,4-Dichlorophenoxy Nitrobenzene
Bromodichloromethane Dieldrin m-Nitrophenol
p-Bromophenol Diethylphthalate o-Nitrophenol
Butylbenzene 2,4-Dinitrocresol p-Nitrophenol
Calcium Hypochloryte 2,4-Dinitrotoluene Ozone
Carbofuran 2,6-Dinitrotoluene Parathion
Chlorine Diuron Pentachlorophenol
Chlorine dioxide Endosulfan Propazine
Chlorobenzene Endrin Simazine
4-Chloro-2-nitrotoluene Ethylbenzene Terbutryn
2-Chlorophenol Hezachlorobenzene Tetrachloroethylene
Chlorotoluene Hezachlorobutadiene Triclopyr
Chrysene Hexane 1,3,5-Trimethylbenzene
m-Cresol Isodrin m-Xylene
Cyanazine Isooctane o-Xylene
Cyclohexane Isoproturon p-Xylene
DDT Lindane 2,4-Xylenol


Group 2: Chemicals normally adsorbed by GAC

Adsorbed by GAC in most cases, longer contact times and lower adsorption rates.

Aniline Dibromo-3-chloropropane 1-Pentanol
Benzene Dibromochloromethane Phenol
Benzyl alcohol 1,1-Dichloroethylene Phenylalanine
Benzoic acid cis-1,2- Dichloroethylene o-Phthalic acid
Bis(2-chloroethyl) ether trans-1,2- Dichloroethylene Styrene
Bromodichloromethane 1,2-Dichloropropane 1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane
Bromoform Ethylene Toluene
Carbon tetrachloride Hydroquinone 1,1,1-Trichloroethane
1-Chloropropane Methyl Isobutyl Ketone Trichloroethylene
Chlorotoluron 4-Methylbenzenamine Vinyl acetate

Group 3: Chemicals with low adsorption characteristics for  being adsorbed by GAC

Characterized by long contact times and low adsorption rates.

Acetic acid Dimethoate Methionine
Acrylamide Ethyl acetate Methyl-tert-butyl ether
Chloroethane Ethyl ether Methyl ethyl ketone
Chloroform Freon 11 Pyridine
1,1-Dichloroethane Freon 113 1,1,2-Trichloroethane
1,2-Dichloroethane Freon 12 Vinyl chloride
1,3-Dichloropropene Glyphosate
Dikegulac Imazypur


Group 4: Chemicals NOT normally be adsorbed by GAC

Acetone Methylene chloride
Acetonitrile 1-Propanol
Acrylonitrile Propionitrile
Dimethylformaldehyde Propylene
1,4-Dioxane Tetrahydrofuran
Isopropyl alcohol Urea
Methyl chloride