Environmental Enlightenment #211
By Ami Adini - Reissued July 10, 2017

This is a SHORT, LIGHT and SIMPLE newsletter. Its purpose is to rekindle in the initiated terminology they have once learned, and enlighten the uninitiated on terms they may have heard but never knew the meaning of.

Power of Simplicity
The EPA’s Citizen’s Guide to Cleanup Technologies

Series 10: Activated Carbon Treatment

See our Newsletter, Environmental Enlightenment #200, for introduction to one highly valuable, plainly written series of Citizen’s Guides published by the EPA at http://www.clu-in.org/products/citguide

With this issue we introduce the EPA’s Citizen’s Guide to Activated Carbon Treatment. You can reach it through the hyperlink under the blue header below.


Carbon is the 15th most abundant element in the Earth's crust and the fourth most abundant element in the universe by mass after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen. It is present in all known life forms.

The Universe
Image courtesy NASA/CXC/CfA/R.Kraft et al., and MPIfR/ESO/APEX/A.Weiss et al.

Life on Earth is intimately fastened to carbon. It is the element of organic life.

Copyright: clairev / 123RF Stock Photo (http://www.123rf.com/profile_clairev)

All organisms are built with compounds of carbon and use carbon in the production of the energy that makes them tick.

In the human body carbon is the second most abundant element by mass after oxygen.




Image courtesy Jrank Free Science Encyclopedia, http://science.jrank.org/kids/pages/212/Common-Elements.html


A porous substance is one for which empty pores make the bulk of its volume. In clay the empty pores can go to 70% of the volume.

Here’s a picture of porous volcanic rock:

(Copyright: 5505292 / 123RF Stock Photo http://www.123rf.com/profile_5505292)


Activated carbon is a porous version of carbon that has uses in the purification of water, air and gas.

The pores provide expansive areas in the holes and tunnels all over their surface.

Public Domain (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

We get carbon from coal, wood, nutshells or other carbon-rich materials.

Photo by Tijuana Brass at en.wikipedia.org, licensed under GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

Carbonization is the process of taking a carbon-rich piece of material and converting it to pure carbon through heating.

Carbon-rich material is cooked at extreme temperatures topping 2000 degrees Celsius. What remains is usually 20 to 30 percent of the beginning weight and consists of mostly carbon and some inorganic ash. In the next step, oxygen is bonded to the surface of the carbon, which now makes it “active.”

Copyright: so47 / 123RF Stock Photo (http://www.123rf.com/profile_so47)



Go to the EPA’s Citizen’s Guide to Activated Carbon Treatment http://www.clu-in.org/download/Citizens/a_citizens_guide_to_activated_carbon_treatment.pdf for the rest. It is simple and fun to read.

You can find past issues of "Environmental Enlightenment" at www.amiadini.com with wealth of information about issues concerning assessment and cleanup of contamination in the subsurface soil and groundwater.

Call me if you have any questions. There are no obligations.

Ami Adini Environmental Services, Inc.
Environmental Engineering Consultants & Contractors
Underground Storage Tank Experts
California Lic. #1009513 A B HAZ ASB
818-824-8102; mail@amiadini.com

Ami Adini is a mechanical engineer, California Registered Environmental Assessor, Level II (Exp.), and president of AMI ADINI ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES, INC. (AAES), an environmental engineering consulting firm and general contractors specializing in all phases of environmental site assessments, rehabilitation of contaminated sites and upgrading of underground storage tank facilities. AAES provides practical solutions to environmental concerns using the highest standards of ethics and integrity while providing its clients with maximum return on their investments.