The present study describes an improvement in the current electrocoagulation treatment process and focuses on a comparative study for the clean-up of laundry wastewater (LWW) after each wash and rinse cycle by biological and electrocoagulation treatment methods. For biological treatment, the wastewater was treated with a Bacillus strain of aerobic bacteria especially suited for the degradation of fats, lipids, protein, detergents and hydrocarbons. Treatment of the LWW by electrocoagulation involved the oxidation of aluminium metal upon the application of a controlled voltage which produces various aluminium hydroxy species capable of adsorbing pollutants from the wastewater. The efficiency of the clean-up of LWW using each method was assessed by determination of surfactant concentration, chemical oxygen demand and total dissolved solids. A rapid decrease in surfactant concentration was noted within 0.5 hour of electrocoagulation, whereas a notable decrease in the surfactant concentration was observed only after 12 hour of biological treatment. The rapid generation of aluminium hydroxy species in the electrocoagulation cell allowed adsorption of pollutants at a faster rate when compared to the aerobic degradation of the surfactant; hence a reduced period of time is required for treatment of LWW by electrocoagulation.
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