Term of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Name

Master of Science in Applied Engineering (M.S.A.E.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Committee Chair

George Fu

Committee Member 1

Francisco Cubas

Committee Member 2

Peter Rogers


The pulp and paper sector is a large industry in Georgia, discharging large volumes of brown colored effluent into receiving water bodies. In addition to being aesthetically unpleasing, the coloration caused by pulp discharges, affect water transparency, gas solubility in water bodies, and affects aquatic life. Accordingly, the color from pulp mill effluents (PMEs) must be removed. On the other hand, coal fly ashes (CFAs), a byproduct of coal-based power plants, are produced millions of tons each year worldwide, could be used as low-cost adsorbent. In this study, extensive batch, immobilization and column studies were conducted to determine whether CFAs can effectively remove color from PMEs in a laboratory setting. A total number of nine (9) batch studies from the combinations of the three (3) CFAs samples from Georgia Power Company and the three (3) PMEs samples was performed. In each batch study, a complete set of dosage screening, kinetic and isotherm studies was conducted and the data was fitted to existing adsorption models. In the immobilization process for the powdered Class “F” CFA, hydrated lime and Class “C” CFA were selected as cost-effective binding materials. A total number of 15 column studies from the combination of five (5) types of CFA beads and the three (3) PME samples was conducted. For the batch study, the Ho et al. kinetic model and the Langmuir and Freundlich isotherm models best described the observed adsorption phenomena, respectively. For the column study, both the Adams-Bohart model and Thomas model best described the observed adsorption phenomena. As part of this study, the selected treated effluent samples were also analyzed for total organic carbon (TOC) and chemical oxygen demand (COD) and heavy metals leach out from CFA including arsenic (As), chromium (Cr) and lead (Pb). Overall, the results from this study suggest that CFAs are a promising low-cost adsorbent for removing color from PME.

Research Data and Supplementary Material