Standard Active Last Updated: Jun 03, 2021 Track Document
ASTM D6586-03(2021)

Standard Practice for the Prediction of Contaminant Adsorption on GAC in Aqueous Systems Using Rapid Small-Scale Column Tests

Standard Practice for the Prediction of Contaminant Adsorption on GAC in Aqueous Systems Using Rapid Small-Scale Column Tests D6586-03R21 ASTM|D6586-03R21|en-US Standard Practice for the Prediction of Contaminant Adsorption on GAC in Aqueous Systems Using Rapid Small-Scale Column Tests Standard new BOS Vol. 15.01 Committee D28
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Significance and Use

5.1 Granular activated carbon (GAC) is commonly used to remove contaminants from water. However if not used properly, GAC can not only be expensive but can at times be ineffective. The development of engineering data for the design of full-scale adsorbers often requires time-consuming and expensive pilot plant studies. This rapid standard practice has been developed to predict adsorption in large-scale adsorbers based upon results from small column testing. In contrast to pilot plant studies, the small-scale column test presented in this practice does not allow for a running evaluation of factors that may affect GAC performance over time. Such factors may include, for example, an increased removal of target compounds by bacterial colonizing GAC3 or long-term fouling of GAC caused by inorganic compounds or background organic matter.4 Nevertheless, this practice offers more relevant operational data than isotherm testing without the principal drawbacks of pilot plant studies, namely time and expense; and unlike pilot plant studies, small-scale studies can be performed in a laboratory using water sampled from a remote location.

5.2 This practice known as the rapid small-scale column test (RSSCT) uses empty bed contact time (EBCT) and hydraulic loading to describe the adsorption process. Mean carbon particle diameter is used to scale RSSCT results to predict the performance of a full-scale adsorber.

5.3 This practice can be used to compare the effectiveness of different activated carbons for the removal of contaminants from a common water stream.


1.1 This practice covers a test method for the evaluation of granular activated carbon (GAC) for the adsorption of soluble pollutants from water. This practice can be used to estimate the operating capacities of virgin and reactivated granular activated carbons. The results obtained from the small-scale column testing can be used to predict the adsorption of target compounds on GAC in a large column or full-scale adsorber application.

1.2 This practice can be applied to all types of water including synthetically contaminated water (prepared by spiking high-purity water with selected contaminants), potable waters, industrial wastewaters, sanitary wastes, and effluent waters.

1.3 This practice is useful for the determination of breakthrough curves for specific contaminants in water, the determination of the lengths of the adsorbates mass transfer zones (MTZ), and the prediction of GAC usage rates for larger scale adsorbers.

1.4 The following safety caveat applies to the procedure section, Section 10, of this practice: This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.5 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 15.01
Developed by Subcommittee: D28.02
Pages: 6
DOI: 10.1520/D6586-03R21
ICS Code: 71.040.30; 71.100.80