Spent Carbon Reactivation And Recycling

Evoqua Water Technologies operates three regional state-of-the-art reactivation and recycling facilities to handle RCRA hazardous and non-hazardous liquid and vapor phase spent carbon.

In recent years, a variety of market dynamics have driven the cost of virgin activated carbon upward. These cost increases, coupled with a greater desire for "green" processes that minimize waste and recycle raw materials, have driven many activated carbon users to reconsider a tried and true process: carbon reactivation. 

Carbon reactivation is the process of utilizing elevated temperatures followed by steam in a rotating kiln or multiple hearth furnace to remove organic compounds adsorbed onto the carbon during normal service use. Furthermore, reactivation destroys 99.99% of the removed organic contaminants through a combination of chemical reactions and oxidation in the reactivation plant’s afterburner. The reactivation process thus ends the liability associated with disposing and handling of the adsorbed contaminants, while restoring the surface area and pore volume of the spent carbon to near virgin-grade levels. 

The reactivation process recycles spent carbons into new activated carbon materials that continue to provide excellent performance in many treatment applications. Reactivation can be applied to carbons used in both liquid phase and vapor phase applications. Spent carbons can be segregated from other spent carbons and returned to the same customer for reuse, or pooled with other spent carbons and sold into other applications as a cost-effective alternative to virgin carbon. Evoqua has extensive experience with all of these types of reactivation services.

With three spent carbon reactivation facilities (Darlington, PA, Parker, AZ and Red Bluff, CA), Evoqua Water Technologies is a leader in spent carbon reactivation.  The Darlington and Parker facilities are both permitted to process RCRA hazardous spent carbon, making Evoqua the only supplier with permitted capacity serving both the East and West Coasts.  The Red Bluff facility is the largest non-hazardous carbon reactivation facility in the western United States.  Both the Darlington and Red Bluff facilities are capable of supplying custom reactivated carbon for potable applications that meet ANSI / NSF Standard 61.

Our reactivation facilities can process RCRA hazardous and non-hazardous liquid and vapor phase spent carbons.  After inspection and acceptance, the spent carbon is heated to 1600° F to ensure proper reactivation.  The cooled reactivated carbon is identified by lot numbers, sampled and analyzed in accordance with our QA/QC program.  This process assures the highest quality reactivated carbon.

The entire state-of-the-art process is computer controlled and monitored, ensuring that the facilities meet or exceed federal and state regulatory requirements for air and water discharges.  A “Certificate of Reactivation” can be issued for each shipment of recycled carbon.  This certifies that the spent carbon has been recycled in a manner that meets or exceeds all applicable RCRA and Benzene NESHAP and Subpart CC regulations.

Features and Benefits

  • Facilities meet and comply with all RCRA,  Benzene NESHAP and Subpart CC requirements 
  • Limit liabilities - Certificate of Reactivation certifies processing meets or exceeds appropriate regulations 
  • Cost effective – easy procedures for carbon profiling and acceptance 
  • QA/QC procedures ensure highest quality of all reactivated carbon 
  • Spent carbon receiving options include by slurry trailers, rail, drums, totes, etc. 
  • All facilities certified to ISO14001, ensuring the highest levels of environmental compliance 
  • ANSI / NSF61 certified potable reactivated carbons available from Darlington and Red Bluff facilities

Spent Carbon Reactivation Programs

​Evoqua reactivated carbon programs utilize our network of service technicians that are trained in performing carbon exchanges from both larger hard piped adsorber vessels by vacuum and slurry exchange and smaller adsorber vessels by direct vessel exchange.

React and Return is a highly controlled program where the customer’s spent activated carbon is removed, reactivated, and returned for reuse to the same customer. The carbon is segregated from other carbons during reactivation and storage. Virgin carbon is used to offset normal losses that occur during handling and reactivation to ensure that 100% of the original carbon volume is returned to the customer. For react and return services provided for drinking water applications at our Darlington, PA and Red bluff, CA facilities, the reactivated carbon is certified to ANSI / NSF Standard 61 for potable water treatment.

Pool reactivation is where spent carbons are removed and the resulting reactivated carbons are then pooled according to application type (vapor phase/liquid phase) and mesh size. These pooled carbons can then be sold into many applications as a substitute for virgin carbons to lower operating costs. Our pool reactivated carbons provided under this program are as follows:

AquaCarb® S Series – for non-potable, liquid phase applications
VoCarb® S Series​ – for vapor phase applications​

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