Abstract Silver nanoparticles colloid has been prepared by a modified sonoelectrodeposition technique in which a silver plate was used as the source of silver ions. This technique allows producing Ag nanoparticles with the size of 4–30 nm dispersed in a non-toxic solution. The Ag nanoparticles were loaded in a high surface activated carbon produced from coconut husk, a popular agricultural waste in Vietnam by thermal activation. The surface area of the best activated carbon is 890 m 2/g. The presence of Ag nanoparticles does not change significantly properties of the activated carbon in terms of morphology and methylene blue adsorption ability. The Ag nanoparticle-loaded activated carbon shows a good antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli with very low minimal inhibitory concentration of 16 μg/ml and strong As(V) adsorption. The materials are potential for prevention and treatment of microbial infection and contamination for environmental applications.