Powdered, activated-carbon regeneration is practical using the Zimmermann process. The spent carbon slurry at 6 to 8% solids enters the wet oxidation process. The reaction temperature allows the adsorbed organic compounds to be oxidized without destruction of the activated carbon. The application of powdered carbon in wastewater treatment can benefit from the economic carbon regeneration.
Wet oxidation can render plastics, detergents, insecticides, and other nonbiodegradable materials compatible with conventional sewage treatment processes. When the waste contains both paper and plastic material, these need not be separated because both are decomposed at the same reaction temperature.
Wastes that are deficient in nitrogen require the addition of this element for satisfactory biological treatment. Wet oxidation of the sludge can reduce the cost of adding nitrogen because this process returns nitrogen to the biological treatment step as ammonia. Other potential applications of the Zimmermann process include the treatment of tannery, glue factory, plating, sulfide, phenol, paper, cyanide, textile mill, brewery, or photochemical waste and the recovery of chrome, magnesium, titanium, and silver.
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