Acid pre-treated powdered waste sludge (PWS) was used for removal of textile dyestuffs from aqueous medium by adsorption as an alternative to the use of powdered activated carbon (PAC). The rate and extent of dysetuff removals were determined for four different dyestuffs at different PWS concentrations varying between I and 6 g l(-1). Biosorbed dyestuff concentrations at equilibrium decreased with increasing PWS concentration for all dyestuffs tested. PWS was more effective for adsorption of Remazol red RR and Chrisofonia direct yellow 12 as compared to the other dyestuffs tested. More than 80% percent dyestuff removal was obtained for all dyestuffs at PWS concentrations above 4 g l(-1) after 6 h of incubation. Similar to percent dyestuff removal, the rate of adsorption was maximum at a PWS concentration of 4 g l(-1). Kinetics of adsorption of dyestuffs was investigated by using the first- and second-order kinetic models and the kinetic constants were determined. Second-order kinetics was found to fit the experimental data better than the first-order model for all dyestuffs tested. Adsorption isotherms were established for all dyestuffs used and the isotherm constants were determined by using the experimental data. Langmuir and the generalized adsorption isotherms were found to be more suitable than the Freundlich isotherm for correlation of equilibrium adsorption data. Acid pre-treated PWS was proven to be an effective adsorbent for dyestuff removal as compared to the other adsorbents reported in literature studies. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.