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Removal of pharmaceuticals from secondary effluents by an electro-peroxone process

Yao, Weikun, Wang, Xiaofeng, Yang, Hongwei, Yu, Gang, Deng, Shubo, Huang, Jun, Wang, Bin, Wang, Yujue
Water research 2016 v.88 pp. 826-835
clofibric acid, diclofenac, effluents, electrochemistry, energy, gemfibrozil, hydrogen peroxide, ibuprofen, organic matter, oxidation, oxygen, ozonation, ozone, wastewater treatment
This study compared the removal of pharmaceuticals from secondary effluents of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) by conventional ozonation and the electro-peroxone (E-peroxone) process, which involves electrochemically generating H2O2 in-situ from O2 in sparged O2 and O3 gas mixture (i.e., ozone generator effluent) during ozonation. Several pharmaceuticals with kO3 ranging from <0.1 to 6.8 × 105 M−1 s−1 were spiked into four secondary effluents collected from different WWTPs, and then treated by ozonation and the E-peroxone process. Results show that both processes can rapidly remove ozone reactive pharmaceuticals (diclofenac and gemfibrozil), while the E-peroxone process can considerably accelerate the removal of ozone-refractory pharmaceuticals (e.g., ibuprofen and clofibric acid) via indirect oxidation with OH generated from the reaction of sparged O3 with electro-generated H2O2. Compared with ozonation, the E-peroxone process enhanced the removal kinetics of ozone-refractory pharmaceuticals in the four secondary effluents by ∼40–170%, and the enhancement was more pronounced in secondary effluents that had relatively lower effluent organic matter (EfOM). Due to its higher efficiency for removing ozone-refractory pharmaceuticals, the E-peroxone process reduced the reaction time and electrical energy consumption required to remove ≥90% of all spiked pharmaceuticals from the secondary effluents as compared to ozonation. These results indicate that the E-peroxone process may provide a simple and effective way to improve existing ozonation system for pharmaceutical removal from secondary effluents.