Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 4462–4473 | Cite as

Total coliform inactivation in natural water by UV/H2O2, UV/US, and UV/US/H2O2 systems

  • Ainhoa Rubio-ClementeEmail author
  • Edwin Chica
  • Gustavo Peñuela
Advanced Oxidation Technologies: State-of-the-Art in Ibero-American Countries


The presence of pathogens in drinking water can seriously affect human health. Therefore, water disinfection is needed, but conventional processes, such as chlorination, result in the production of dangerous disinfection by-products. In this regard, an alternative solution to tackle the problem of bacterial pollution may be the application of advanced oxidation processes. In this work, the inactivation of total coliforms, naturally present in a Colombian surface water by means of UV/H2O2, UV/US, and the UV/US/H2O2 advanced oxidation processes, was investigated. Under the investigated conditions, complete bacterial inactivation (detection limit equal to 1 CFU 100 mL−1) was found within 5 min of treatment by UV/H2O2 and UV/US/H2O2 systems. UV/US oxidation process also resulted in total bacterial load elimination, but after 15 min of treatment. Bacterial reactivation after 24 h and 48 h in the dark was measured and no subsequent regrowth was observed. This phenomenon could be attributed to the high oxidation capacity of the evaluated oxidation systems. However, the process resulting in the highest oxidation potential at the lowest operating cost, in terms of energy consumption, was UV/H2O2 system. Therefore, UV/H2O2 advanced oxidation system can be used for disinfection purposes, enabling drinking water production meeting the requirements of regulated parameters in terms of water quality, without incurring extremely high energy costs. Nonetheless, further researches are required for minimizing the associated electric costs.


Advanced oxidation process Disinfection Total coliform Water treatment UV/H2O2 system UV/US process UV/US/H2O2 system 



The authors thank the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the Colombian Administrative Department of Science Technology and Innovation (COLCIENCIAS), and the Sustainability Fund of the Vice-rectory of Research at the University of Antioquia for supporting this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ainhoa Rubio-Clemente
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Edwin Chica
    • 4
  • Gustavo Peñuela
    • 2
  1. 1.Facultad de Ciencias de la SaludUniversidad Católica de Murcia UCAMMurciaSpain
  2. 2.Grupo GDCON, Facultad de Ingeniería, Sede de Investigaciones Universitarias (SIU)Universidad de Antioquia UdeAMedellínColombia
  3. 3.Facultad de IngenieríaTecnológico de Antioquia–Institución Universitaria TdeAMedellínColombia
  4. 4.Departamento de Ingeniería Mecánica, Facultad de IngenieríaUniversidad de Antioquia UdeAMedellínColombia

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