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Combining micelle-clay sorption to solar photo-Fenton processes for domestic wastewater treatment


A tertiary treatment of effluent from a biological domestic wastewater treatment plant was tested by combining filtration and solar photocatalysis. Adsorption was carried out by a sequence of two column filters, the first one filled with granular activated carbon (GAC) and the second one with granulated nano-composite of micelle-montmorillonite mixed with sand (20:100, w/w). The applied solar advanced oxidation process was homogeneous photo-Fenton photocatalysis using peroxymonosulfate (PMS) as oxidant agent. This combination of simple, robust, and low-cost technologies aimed to ensure water disinfection and emerging contaminants (ECs, mainly pharmaceuticals) removal. The filtration step showed good performances in removing dissolved organic matter and practically removing all bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Enterococcus faecalis from the secondary treated water. Solar advanced oxidation processes were efficient in elimination of trace levels of ECs. The final effluent presented an improved sanitary level with acceptable chemical and biological characteristics for irrigation.

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Monica Brienza acknowledges a postdoctoral fellowship from the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD).


This research was funded by the European Union under the ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme within the framework of the project “Diffusion of nanotechnology-based devices for water treatment and recycling e NANOWAT” (Project No. I-B/2.1/049; Grant No. 7/1997).

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Correspondence to Monica Brienza.

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Responsible editor: Suresh Pillai

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Brienza, M., Nir, S., Plantard, G. et al. Combining micelle-clay sorption to solar photo-Fenton processes for domestic wastewater treatment. Environ Sci Pollut Res 26, 18971–18978 (2019).

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  • Water treatment
  • Micelle-montmorillonite
  • AOPs
  • Bacteria
  • Emerging contaminants