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Degradation rates of benzotriazoles and benzothiazoles under UV-C irradiation and the advanced oxidation process UV/H2O2

Bahnmüller, Sabrina, Loi, Clara H., Linge, Kathryn L., Gunten, Urs von, Canonica, Silvio
Water research 2015 v.74 pp. 143-154
aquatic environment, aqueous solutions, energy, hydrogen peroxide, hydroxyl radicals, irradiation, lamps, oxidation, pH, photons, river water, ultraviolet radiation, wastewater, water pollution
Benzotriazoles (BTs) and benzothiazoles (BTHs) are extensively used chemicals found in a wide range of household and industrial products. They are chemically stable and are therefore ubiquitous in the aquatic environment. The present study focuses on the potential of ultraviolet (UV) irradiation, alone or in combination with hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), to remove BTs and BTHs from contaminated waters. Six compounds, three out of each chemical class, were investigated using a low-pressure mercury lamp (main emission at 254 nm) as the radiation source. Initially, the direct phototransformation kinetics and quantum yield in dilute aqueous solution was studied over the pH range of 4–12. All BTs and BTHs, except for benzothiazole, exhibited pH-dependent direct phototransformation rate constants and quantum yields in accordance to their acid−base speciation (7.1 < pKa < 8.9). The direct phototransformation quantum yields (9.0 × 10−4−3.0 × 10−2 mol einstein−1), as well as the photon fluence-based rate constants (1.2–48 m2 einstein−1) were quite low. This suggests that UV irradiation alone is not an efficient method to remove BTs and BTHs from impacted waters. The second-order rate constants for the reaction of selected BTs and BTHs with the hydroxyl radical were also determined, and found to fall in the range of 5.1–10.8 × 109 M−1 s−1, which is typical for aromatic contaminants. Finally, the removal of BTs and BTHs was measured in wastewater and river water during application of UV irradiation or the advanced oxidation process UV/H2O2. The latter process provided an efficient removal, mostly due to the effect of the hydroxyl radical, that was comparable to other aromatic aquatic contaminants, in terms of energy requirement or treatment costs.