This work investigates the performances of coconut shell waste-based activated carbon (CSWAC) adsorption in batch studies for removal of ammoniacal nitrogen (NH3-N) and refractory pollutants (as indicated by decreasing COD concentration) from landfill leachate. To valorize unused resources, coconut shell, recovered and recycled from agricultural waste, was converted into activated carbon, which can be used for leachate treatment. The ozonation of the CSWAC was conducted to enhance its removal performance for target pollutants. The adsorption mechanisms of refractory pollutants by the adsorbent are proposed. Perspectives on nutrient recovery technologies from landfill leachate from the view-points of downstream processing are presented. Their removal efficiencies for both recalcitrant compounds and ammoniacal nitrogen were compared to those of other techniques reported in previous work. It is found that the ozonated CSWAC substantially removed COD (i.e. 76%) as well as NH3-N (i.e. 75%), as compared to the CSWAC without pretreatment (i.e. COD: 44%; NH3-N: 51%) with NH3-N and COD concentrations of 2750 and 8500 mg/L, respectively. This reveals the need of ozonation for the adsorbent to improve its performance for the removal of COD and NH3-N at optimized reactions: 30 g/L of CSWAC, pH 8, 200 rpm of shaking speed and 20 min of reaction time. Nevertheless, treatment of the leachate samples using the ozonated CSWAC alone was still unable to result in treated effluents that could meet the COD and NH3-N discharge standards below 200 and 5 mg/L, respectively, set by legislative requirements. This reveals that another treatment is necessary to be undertaken to comply with the requirement of their effluent limit.
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