Bioelectro-Fenton: evaluation of a combined biological—advanced oxidation treatment for pharmaceutical wastewater
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Electro-Fenton (EF), an advanced oxidation process, can be combined with a biological process for efficient treatment of wastewater containing refractory pollutants such as pharmaceuticals. In this study, a biological process was implemented in a sequencing batch reactor (SBR), which was either preceded or followed by EF treatment. The main goal was to evaluate the potential of two sequences of a combined electrochemical-biological process: EF/SBR and SBR/EF for the treatment of real wastewater spiked with 0.1 mM of caffeine and 5-fluorouracil. The biological removal of COD and pharmaceuticals was improved by extending the acclimation time and increasing concentration of biomass in the SBR. Hardly biodegradable caffeine and COD were completely removed during the EF post-treatment (SBR/EF). During the EF/SBR sequence, complete removal of pharmaceuticals was achieved by EF within 30 min at applied current 800 mA. With a current of 500 and 800 mA, the initially very low BOD5/COD ratio increased up to 0.38 and 0.58, respectively, after 30 min. The efficiency of the biological post-treatment was influenced by the biodegradability enhancement after EF pre-treatment. The choice of an adequate sequence of such a combined process is significantly related to the wastewater characteristics as well as the treatment objectives.
KeywordsElectro-Fenton Combined process Pharmaceuticals Caffeine 5-fluorouracil Biological treatment
The authors thank the EU for providing financial support through the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate Program ETeCoS3 (Environmental Technologies for Contaminated Solids, Soils and Sediments, grant agreement FPA no. 2010-0009). The authors also thank grants from region Ile de France. Special thanks are given to Jessica Soave for her participation in experimental part of the study.
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