Identification and removal of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in wastewater treatment processes from coke production plants
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Identification and removal of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were investigated at two coke plants located in Shaoguan, Guangdong Province of China. Samples of raw coking wastewaters and wastewaters from subunits of a coke production plant were analyzed using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC/MS) to provide a detailed chemical characterization of PAHs. The identification and characterization of PAH isomers was based on a positive match of mass spectral data of sample peaks with those for PAH isomers in mass spectra databases with electron impact ionization mass spectra and retention times of internal reference compounds. In total, 270 PAH compounds including numerous nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur heteroatomic derivatives were positively identified for the first time. Quantitative analysis of target PAHs revealed that total PAH concentrations in coking wastewaters were in the range of 98.5 ± 8.9 to 216 ± 20.2 μg/L, with 3-4-ring PAHs as dominant compounds. Calculation of daily PAH output from four plant subunits indicated that PAHs in the coking wastewater came mainly from ammonia stripping wastewater. Coking wastewater treatment processes played an important role in removing PAHs in coking wastewater, successfully removing 92 % of the target compounds. However, 69 weakly polar compounds, including PAH isomers, were still discharged in the final effluent, producing 8.8 ± 2.7 to 31.9 ± 6.8 g/day of PAHs with potential toxicity to environmental waters. The study of coking wastewater herein proposed can be used to better predict improvement of coke production facilities and treatment conditions according to the identification and removal of PAHs in the coke plant as well as to assess risks associated with continuous discharge of these contaminants to receiving waters.
KeywordsCoking wastewater Coke plant Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons Chemical identification Pollutant removal
This research was supported by the State Key Program of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21037001); National High Technology Research, Development Program of China (863 Program, No. 2009AA06Z319); and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 21007071 and 21207040).
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