A pilot plant study using conventional and advanced water treatment processes: Evaluating removal efficiency of indicator compounds representative of pharmaceuticals and personal care products

Shuangyi Zhang, Stephen Gitungo, Lisa Axe, John E. Dyksen, Robert F. Raczko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations

Abstract

With widespread occurrence of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in the water cycle, their presence in source water has led to the need to better understand their treatability and removal efficiency in treatment processes. Fifteen indicator compounds were identified to represent the large number of PPCPs reported worldwide. Criteria applied to determine the indicator compounds included PPCPs widely used, observed at great frequency in aqueous systems, resistant to treatment, persistent in the environment, and representative of classes of organics. Through a pilot plant investigation to understand the optimal combination of unit process for treating PPCPs, 12 treatment trains with their additive and synergistic contributions were investigated; processes included dissolved air flotation (DAF), pre- and intermediate-ozonation with and without H2O2, intermediate chlorination, dual media filtration, granular activated carbon (GAC), and UV/H2O2. Treatment trains that achieved the greatest removals involved 1. DAF followed by intermediate ozonation, dual media filtration, and virgin GAC; 2. pre-ozonation followed by DAF, dual media filtration, and virgin GAC; and, 3. DAF (with either pre- or intermediate oxidation) followed by dual media filtration and UV/H2O2. Results revealed significant removal efficiencies for virgin GAC (preceded by DAF and intermediate ozonation) and UV/H2O2 with an intensity of 700 mJ/cm2, where more than 12 of the compounds were removed by greater than 90%. Reduced PPCP removals were observed with virgin GAC preceded by pre-ozonation and DAF. Intermediate ozonation was more effective than using pre-ozonation, demonstrating the importance of this process targeting PPCPs after treatment of natural organic matter. Removal efficiencies of indicator compounds through ozonation were found to be a function of the O3 rate constants (kO3). For compounds with low O3 rate constants (kO3 < 10 M−1s−1), H2O2 addition in the O3 reactor was required. Of the 15 indicator compounds, tri(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP) and cotinine were observed to be the most recalcitrant. Although UV/H2O2 with elevated intensity (700 mJ/cm2) was effective for PPCP removals, energy requirements far exceed intensities applied for disinfection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-96
Number of pages12
JournalWater Research
Volume105
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 15 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering

Keywords

  • Conventional and advanced treatment processes
  • Granular activated carbon
  • Ozonation
  • Pharmaceutical and personal care products
  • Treatment of emerging contaminants
  • Water treatment

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