Electrolyte selection and microbial toxicity for electrochemical oxidative water treatment using a boron-doped diamond anode to support site specific contamination incident response.Chemosphere. 2018 Apr; 197:135-141.C
Intentional and unintentional contamination incidents, such as terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and accidental spills, can result in large volumes of contaminated water. These waters may require pre-treatment before disposal and assurances that treated waters will not adversely impact biological processes at wastewater treatment facilities, or receiving waters. Based on recommendations of an industrial workgroup, this study addresses such concerns by studying electrochemical advanced oxidation process (EAOP) pre-treatment for contaminated waters, using a boron-doped diamond (BDD) anode, prior to discharge to wastewater treatment facilities. Reaction conditions were investigated, and microbial toxicity was assessed using the Microtox® toxicity assay and the Nitrification Inhibition test. A range of contaminants were studied including herbicides, pesticides, pharmaceuticals and flame retardants. Resulting toxicities varied with supporting electrolyte from 5% to 92%, often increasing, indicating that microbial toxicity, in addition to parent compound degradation, should be monitored during treatment. These toxicity results are particularly novel because they systematically compare the microbial toxicity effects of a variety of supporting electrolytes, indicating some electrolytes may not be appropriate in certain applications. Further, these results are the first known report of the use of the Nitrification Inhibition test for this application. Overall, these results systematically demonstrate that anodic oxidation using the BDD anode is useful for addressing water contaminated with refractory organic contaminants, while minimizing impacts to wastewater plants or receiving waters accepting EAOP-treated effluent. The results of this study indicate nitrate can be a suitable electrolyte for incident response and, more importantly, serve as a baseline for site specific EAOP usage.