The Contaminants Activated Carbon Can And Cannot Remove

Activated carbon (AC) filtration is most effective in removing organic contaminants from water. Organic substances are composed of two basic elements, carbon and hydrogen. Because organic chemicals are often responsible for taste, odor, and color problems, AC filtration can generally be used to improve aesthetically objectional water. AC filtration will also remove chlorine. AC filtration is recognized by the Water Quality Association as an acceptable method to maintain certain drinking water contaminants within the limits of the EPA National Drinking Water Standards (refer to Table 7).

Table 7. Water contaminants that can be reduced to acceptable standards by activated carbon filtration. (Source: Water Quality Association, 1989)

Primary Drinking Water Standards Contaminant

Inorganic Contaminants

Organic Arsenic Complexes Organic Chromium Complexes Mercury (Hg+2) Inorganic Organic Mercury Complexes

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