Based on previous findings (Jans, U., Hoigne, J., 1998. Ozone Sci. Eng. 20, 67-87), the activity of activated carbon for the transformation of ozone into e OH radicals including the influence of operational parameters (carbon dose, ozone dose, carbon-type and carbon treatment time) was quantified. The ozone decomposition constant (k(D)) was increased by the presence of activated carbon in the system and depending on the type of activated carbon added, the ratio of the concentrations of center dot OH radicals and ozone, the R-ct value ([center dot OH]/[O-3]), was increased by a factor 3-5. The results obtained show that the surface chemical and textural characteristics of the activated carbon determines its activity for the transformation of ozone into center dot OH radicals. The most efficient carbons in this process are those with high basicity and large surface area. The obtained results show that the interaction between ozone and pyrrol groups present on the surface of activated carbon increase the concentration of O(2)center dot. radicals in the system, enhancing ozone transformation into center dot OH radicals. The activity of activated carbon decreases for extended ozone exposures. This may indicate that activated carbon does not really act as a catalyst but rather as a conventional initiator or promoter for the ozone transformation into center dot OH radicals. Ozonation of Lake Zurich water ([O-3] = 1 mg/L) in presence of activated carbon (0.5 g/L) lead to an increase in the kD and R, value by a factor of 10 and 39, respectively, thereby favouring the removal of ozone-resistant contaminants. Moreover, the presence of activated carbon during ozonation of Lake Zurich water led to a 40% reduction in the content of dissolved organic carbon during the first 60 min of treatment. The adsorption of low concentrations of dissolved organic matter (DOM) on activated carbon surfaces did not modify its capacity to initiate/promote ozone transformation into center dot OH radicals. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.