Heterogenous photocatalytic degradation kinetics and detoxification of an urban wastewater treatment plant effluent contaminated with pharmaceuticals
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Degradation kinetics and mineralization of an urban wastewater treatment plant effluent contaminated with a mixture of pharmaceutical compounds composed of amoxicillin (10mg L−1), carbamazepine (5mg L−1) and diclofenac (2.5mg L−1) by TiO2 photocatalysis were investigated. The photocatalytic effect was investigated using both spiked distilled water and actual wastewater solutions. The process efficiency was evaluated through UV absorbance and TOC measurements. A set of bioassays (Daphnia magna, Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata and Lepidium sativum) was performed to evaluate the potential toxicity of the oxidation intermediates. A pseudo-first order kinetic model was found to fit well the experimental data. The mineralization rate (TOC) of the wastewater contaminated with the pharmaceuticals was found to be really slow (t1/2=86.6 min) compared to that of the same pharmaceuticals spiked in distilled water (t1/2=46.5min). The results from the toxicity tests of single pharmaceuticals, their mixture and the wastewater matrix spiked with the pharmaceuticals displayed a general accordance between the responses of the freshwater aquatic species (P. subscapitata>D. magna). In general the photocatalytic treatment did not completely reduce the toxicity under the investigated conditions (maximum catalyst loading and irradiation time 0.8g TiO2 L−1 and 120min respectively). "