, Volume 223, Issue 5, pp 2023-2034
Date: 03 Nov 2011

Biodegradability Improvement of Sulfamethazine Solutions by Means of an electro-Fenton Process

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The main objective of this study was to examine the effect of an electro-Fenton pretreatment on the biodegradability of sulfamethazine-polluted solutions. The aim of the pretreatment was only to degrade this molecule in order to increase the biodegradability of the effluent and therefore allow a subsequent biological treatment. Preliminary tests showed the absence of biodegradability of the target compound. The degradation of sulfamethazine by electro-Fenton process was then examined using a carbon felt cathode and a platinum anode in an electrochemical reactor containing 1 L of solution. The influence of some experimental parameters such as initial concentration, temperature and current intensity on the degradation by electro-Fenton step has been investigated. In addition, the biodegradability of the solution after electrochemical pretreatment was examined and showed a Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD5) on Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) ratio above the limit of biodegradability, namely 0.4, for several experimental conditions. The feasibility of coupling an electro-Fenton pretreatment with a biological degradation of by-products in order to mineralize polluted solutions of sulfamethazine was confirmed.