In this work the electrochemical disinfection of the effluent of a secondary wastewater treatment plant is investigated. In the experimental work, performed on-site with real effluents of the WWTP located in Vuelta Ostrera (Cantabria, Spain), boron-doped diamond (BDD) electrodes were employed. The initial concentration of E. coli in the effluent of the WWTP varied in the range 1.3 × 104–5.2 × 105 cfu/mL. The influence of two operation variables on the kinetics of E. coli deactivation was investigated: i) The applied current density was varied in the range J=40–120 mA/cm2, showing first order kinetics, and linear dependency of the apparent kinetic constant with the applied current density; and ii) the chloride concentration was varied in the range 60–1,050 mg/L, showing that increasing chloride content also enhanced the kinetics of the E. coli deactivation. The latter parameter is particularly important in coastal areas, as in the case of the present study. The formation of disinfection by-products (DBPs) was followed by measuring the content of trihalomethanes (THMs) that nevertheless was maintained below 100 μg/L, so it can be concluded that the formation of DBPs is not a disadvantage of electrochemical disinfection of secondary effluents of WWTP.
Keywords: electrooxidation, tertiary water treatment, wastewater disinfection