Removal of organic contaminants from secondary effluent by anodic oxidation with a boron-doped diamond anode as tertiary treatment.J Hazard Mater. 2015; 283:551-7.JH
Electrochemical advanced oxidation processes (EAOPs) have been widely investigated as promising technologies to remove trace organic contaminants from water, but have rarely been used for the treatment of real waste streams. Anodic oxidation with a boron-doped diamond (BDD) anode was applied for the treatment of secondary effluent from a municipal sewage treatment plant containing 29 target pharmaceuticals and pesticides. The effectiveness of the treatment was assessed from the contaminants decay, dissolved organic carbon and chemical oxygen demand removal. The effect of applied current and pH was evaluated. Almost complete mineralization of effluent organic matter and trace contaminants can be obtained by this EAOP primarily due to the action of hydroxyl radicals formed at the BDD surface. The oxidation of Cl(-) ions present in the wastewater at the BDD anode gave rise to active chlorine species (Cl2/HClO/ClO(-)), which are competitive oxidizing agents yielding chloramines and organohalogen byproducts, quantified as adsorbable organic halogen. However, further anodic oxidation of HClO/ClO(-) species led to the production of ClO3(-) and ClO4(-) ions. The formation of these species hampers the application as a single-stage tertiary treatment, but posterior cathodic reduction of chlorate and perchlorate species may reduce the risks associated to their presence in the environment.