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Environ Int. 2004 Mar;30(1):47-55.

Disinfection of wastewater with peracetic acid: a review.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Engineering, Suleyman Demirel University, Isparta, Turkey.


Peracetic acid is a strong disinfectant with a wide spectrum of antimicrobial activity. Due to its bactericidal, virucidal, fungicidal, and sporicidal effectiveness as demonstrated in various industries, the use of peracetic acid as a disinfectant for wastewater effluents has been drawing more attention in recent years. The desirable attributes of peracetic acid for wastewater disinfection are the ease of implementing treatment (without the need for expensive capital investment), broad spectrum of activity even in the presence of heterogeneous organic matter, absence of persistent toxic or mutagenic residuals or by-products, no quenching requirement (i.e., no dechlorination), small dependence on pH, short contact time, and effectiveness for primary and secondary effluents. Major disadvantages associated with peracetic acid disinfection are the increases of organic content in the effluent due to acetic acid (AA) and thus in the potential microbial regrowth (acetic acid is already present in the mixture and is also formed after peracetic acid decomposition). Another drawback to the use of peracetic acid is its high cost, which is partly due to limited production capacity worldwide. However, if the demand for peracetic acid increases, especially from the wastewater industry, the future mass production capacity might also be increased, thus lowering the cost. In such a case, in addition to having environmental advantages, peracetic acid may also become cost-competitive with chlorine.

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