Assessing the potential of a UV-based AOP for treating high-salinity municipal wastewater reverse osmosis concentrate
The UVC/H2O2 process was studied at laboratory scale for the treatment of one moderate (conductivity ∼8 mS/cm) and two high salinity (∼23 mS/cm) municipal wastewater reverse osmosis concentrate (ROC) samples with varying organic and inorganic characteristics. The process efficiency was characterized in terms of reduction of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), chemical oxygen demand (COD), colour and absorbance at 254 nm (A254), and the improvement of biodegradability. The reduction of colour and A254 was significantly greater than for DOC and COD for all samples due to the greater breakdown of humic compounds, as confirmed by fluorescence excitation-emission matrix spectra. Fairly small differences in the reduction of DOC (26–38%) and COD (25–37%) were observed for all samples, suggesting that the salinity of the ROC did not have a significant impact on the UVC/H2O2 treatment under the test conditions. The biodegradability of the treated ROC samples improved markedly (approximately 2-fold) after 60 min UVC/H2O2 treatment. This study indicates the potential of UVC/H2O2 treatment followed by biological processes for treating high-salinity concentrate, and the robustness of the process where the characteristics of the secondary effluent (influent to RO) and thus resultant ROC vary significantly.