Performance and cost evaluations of synthetic resin technology for the removal of methyl tert-butyl ether from drinking water

Tom Shih, Medhi Wangpaichitr, Mel Suffet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This study investigated the performance of synthetic carbonaceous resin technology for the treatment of methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) contaminated waters using rapid small-scale column tests (RSSCTs). The RSSCTs were conducted using Ambersorb 563 carbonaceous resin (Rohm and Haas Corp., Philadelphia, Pa.) under multisolute conditions of typical municipal water source, soluble fuel components or additive/by-product, and MTBE. Specifically, one RSSCT column run was conducted with groundwater from Arcadia Wellfield, Santa Monica, Calif., with tert-butyl alcohol (TBA) and MTBE, while the other RSSCT column run was performed with surface water from Lake Perris, Calif., with benzene, toluene, p-xylene (BTX) and MTBE. The results obtained were compared to RSSCTs performed using PCB coconut shell granulated activated carbon (GAC) (Calgon Corp., Philadelphia, Pa.). The adsorbent comparisons indicate that the performance (as characterized by indicators such as carbon usage rates or integrated column capacity) of the Ambersorb 563 synthetic resin in multisolute conditions of TBA or BTEX with MTBE in typical municipal water source is significantly superior to that of the coconut shell PCB GAC. Cost comparison for the coconut shell GAC and synthetic resin system was also performed. Under multisolute conditions of typical municipal water source, flow rates, and influent MTBE concentrations, the cost of the resin system, for most of the scenarios evaluated, is demonstrated to be significantly lower than the complementary GAC system under the costing procedure used. Further, when soluble fuel components such as BTX or fuel additives/byproducts such as TBA were present along with MTBE, the predicted higher adsorbent usage rates for the coconut shell GAC were translated into significantly higher treatment costs relative to the synthetic carbonaceous resin system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-460
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Environmental Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Activated carbon
  • Costs
  • Dynamics tests
  • Performance evaluation
  • Resins
  • Sorption
  • Water treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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