Elevated concentrations of natural organic matter (NOM) and organic micropollutants (OMPs) can contaminate the quality of drinking water, and current water treatment technologies are not always successful in removing all their constituents. Ozonation and adsorption are two advanced processes with different removal mechanisms used to treat NOM and OMPs. Their treatment efficiency depends on the strength and kinetics of adsorption and ozonation (ozone molecule and OH radical (OH•) reaction) of the individual NOM constituents and OMPs. They are individually able to remove many of the NOM fractions and OMPs but not satisfactory in removing the vast array of their components which differ in their physico-chemical characteristics, for example molecular weight, charge, functional groups, aromaticity, and hydrophobicity/hydrophilicity. Significant progress has been made by integrating these processes (ozonation followed by activated carbon (AC) adsorption) but they need further improvement to efficiently target all NOM fractions and the various OMPs. Ozonation transforms the larger NOM molecules into smaller molecular sizes with lower aromaticity and hydrophobicity, subsequently resulting in reduced adsorption. The reduced adsorption of these molecules diminishes their competition against OMP adsorption resulting in increased OMP removal. Adsorption can remove unoxidized pollutants as well as the by-products of ozonation, and some of them are suspected to be human carcinogens. Of the commonly used adsorbents, anion exchange resin and AC, the former has higher affinity towards negatively charged humic fraction and OMPs. Conversely, the latter has higher affinity towards the hydrophobic constituents and smaller sized constituents which diffuse into AC pores and get adsorbed. Biofilm formed by long-term use of AC also contributes to enhanced removal of NOM and OMPs. This paper briefly reviews the currently available literature on removing NOM and OMPs by the ozonation/adsorption integrated process. It also suggests a new method for further increasing the efficiency of this process.

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