This study is aimed to remove Cd(II) ions from aqueous solutions by adsorption. As adsorbent, activated carbon prepared from olive stone, an agricultural solid by-product was used. Different activating agent (ZnCl2) amounts and adsorbent particle size were studied to optimize adsorbent surface area. The adsorption experiments were conducted at different parameters such as, adsorbent dose, temperature, equilibrium time and pH. According to the experiments results, the equilibrium time, optimum pH, adsorbent dosage were found 60 min, pH > 6 and 1.0 g/50 ml respectively. The kinetic data supports pseudo-second order model and intra-particle model but shows very poor fit for pseudo-first order model. Adsorption isotherms were obtained from three different temperatures. These adsorption data were fitted with the Langmuir and Freundlich isotherms. In addition, the thermodynamic parameters, standard free energy (Delta G(0)), standard enthalpy (Delta H-0), standard entropy (Delta S-0) of the adsorption process were calculated. To reveal the adsorptive characteristics of the produced active carbon, BET surface area measurements were made. Structural analysis was performed using SEM-EDS. The resulting activated carbons with 20% ZnCl2 solution was the best sample of the produced activated carbons from olive stone with the specific surface area of 790.25 m(2) g(-1). The results show that the produced activated carbon from olive stone is an alternative low-cost adsorbent for removing Cd(II). (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.