chapter  8
21 Pages

Biochar for Organic Contaminant Management in Water and Wastewater

The fast development of our global society and its rapidly growing economics in the past century has led to the discharge of a large quantity of anthropogenic chemicals into aquatic environments from industries (e.g., dyes), households (e.g., detergents, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products), and agriculture (e.g., pesticides, herbicides). More than 700 pollutants, both organic and inorganic, have been detected in water (Ali and Gupta 2007). Most of anthropogenic chemicals are

hydrophobic and persistent and are well-known as hydrophobic organic contaminants (HOCs) or persistent organic pollutants (POPs). They are resistant to chemical degradation, biological degradation, or both, and the activated sludge process in conventional wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) is not effective in removing these xenobiotic organic compounds (Petrasek et  al. 1983). Consequently, WWTPs are considered as one of the important sources of these chemicals into aquatic environments (Katsoyiannis and Samara 2005; Pham and Proulx 1997). These xenobiotic organic compounds in aquatic environments may accumulate in plant and animal tissues and translocate to humans via water consumption and through the food chain, thereby posing long-term threats to human health and the safety of the ecosystem, even when introduced at extremely low concentrations (Katsoyiannis and Samara 2005).