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Water Res. 2010 May;44(9):2763-72. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2010.02.017. Epub 2010 Feb 16.

Electro-oxidation of reverse osmosis concentrates generated in tertiary water treatment.

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Dpto. Ingeniería Química y QI. ETSIIyT, Universidad de Cantabria, Avenida de los Castros s/n, Santander, Spain.


This work investigates the application of the electro-oxidation technology provided with boron doped diamond (BDD), an electrode material which has shown outstanding properties in oxidation of organic and inorganic compounds, for the treatment of reverse osmosis (RO) concentrates generated in tertiary wastewater treatment plants (WWTP). Chemical oxygen demand (COD), ammonium and several anions were measured during the electro-oxidation process, and the influence of the applied current density (20-200A/m(2)) was analysed on process kinetics. Analytical assessment showed that several emerging pollutants (pharmaceuticals, personal care products, stimulants, etc.) were presented both in the effluent of the secondary WWTP as well as in the RO concentrate. For this reason, a group of 10 emerging pollutants, those found with higher concentrations, was selected in order to test whether electro-oxidation can be also applied for their mitigation. In the removal of emerging pollutants the electrical current density in the range 20-100A/m(2) did not show influence likely due to the mass transfer resistance developed in the process when the oxidized solutes are present in such low concentrations. Their removal rates were fitted to first order expressions, and the apparent kinetic constants for the anodic oxidation of each compound were calculated. Finally, the formation of trihalomethanes (THMs) has been checked; concluding that after selecting the appropriate operational conditions the attained concentration is lower than the standards for drinking water established in European and EPA regulations.

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