On the performance of electrocoagulation-assisted biological treatment processes: a review on the state of the art

  • Zakaria Al-QodahEmail author
  • Yahiya Al-Qudah
  • Waid Omar
Review Article


The combined treatment systems have become a potential alternative to treat highly polluted industrial wastewater to achieve high-quality treated effluents. The current review focuses on the treatment systems compromising electrocoagulation (EC) as a pretreatment step followed by a biological treatment step. The reasons for applying EC as a pretreatment process were mainly to (1) detoxify the wastewater by removing inhibitors of the biotreatment step or (2) to remove the major part of the COD or (3) the dissolved materials that could cause fouling to membrane bioreactors or (4) to increase the activity of the microorganisms. This combination represents a new and promising application characterized by higher performance and removal efficiency. The main published findings related to this application are presented and analyzed. Besides, the statistical models used to optimize the process variables and the kinetics of microorganism growth rate are discussed herein. Most of the previous investigations were conducted in a laboratory-scale level with biologically treated water as a feed to the EC process. Only a few works applied a hybrid system consisting of the biological step and the EC step. In all studies, improved performance and higher removal efficiencies of the combined process were achieved particularly when applying aluminum electrodes, providing more than 95% removal efficiency. Many researchers have reported that they had faced a significant problem in the operation of the electrocoagulation process associated with the reduction of electrodes’ efficiency caused by deposits of the coagulation complex. This problem needs to be effectively resolved.


Electrocoagulation Combined treatment processes Biological treatment Pretreatment processes Membrane bioreactors Wastewater treatment integrated processes 



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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chemical Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering TechnologyAl-Balqa Applied UniversityAmmanJordan
  2. 2.Chemistry Department, Faculty of ScienceAl-Balqa Applied UniversitySaltJordan

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