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The objective of this study was to evaluate the extent of improvement in the biodegradability persistent organic compounds by pre-oxidation by using Sequential Batch Reactors (SBRs). Dichlorodiethyl ether (DCDE), which is a non-biodegradable compound, was used as a test chemical. The oxidation processes applied in this study were ozonation, Fenton reagent and ultra-violet light coupled with hydrogen peroxide (UV/H2O2). The three processes were examined at DCDE oxidation levels of 50 to 100%. Chemically treated DCDE solutions were then subjected to SBR studies using activated sludge to determine the rate and extent of biodegradation of oxidation byproducts. Total organic carbon (TOC) and chemical oxygen demand (COD) were used to determine the removal efficiencies of the by-products. The concentration of DCDE was also measured for assessment of its removal during the integrated process. The results indicated that the biodegradability of pre-oxidized DCDE increased drastically compared to non-oxidized solutions, reaching an average of 90% for all three oxidation methods versus zero for non-oxidized DCDE. It was concluded that the results of SBR experiments may be better indicators of biodegradability of chemically-oxidized wastewaters due to significant acclimation of microorganisms in SBRs, which cannot be observed in conventional respirometric laboratory studies.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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