A comparative study of HO•− and SO4•−-based AOPs for the degradation of non-ionic surfactant Brij30

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In the present study aqueous solutions of Brij30, an alcohol ethoxylate surfactant, were photocatalytically and photochemically treated by employing the TiO2/UV-A, H2O2/UV-C and persulfate (PS)/UV-C processes. During TiO2/UV-A treatment, even in short reaction periods (10 minutes), high rates of Brij30 removals were achieved; however, longer experiment periods (240–480 minutes) were needed in order to obtain notable total organic carbon (TOC) removals. Increasing the TiO2 dosage exhibited a positive effect on treatment efficiencies. For initial pH value of 3.0, increasing the TiO2 dosage from 1.0 to 1.5 g/L resulted in an improvement in Brij30 removal from 64% to 79% after 10 minutes whereas 68 and 88% TOC removals were observed after 480 minutes, respectively. Brij30 removal was very fast and complete via both H2O2/UV-C and PS/UV-C treatments, accompanied with significant mineralization rates ranging between 74 and 80%. Toxicity assessed by Vibrio fischeri, was found to be similar to that of the original Brij30 solution during H2O2/UV-C treatment, while in the PS/UV-C process, the relative inhibition of Brij30 towards V. fischeri fluctuated throughout the treatment and eventually non-toxic products were formed by the oxidation of SO4•− radicals.

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