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Disinfection of Wastewater Using a 20-kHz Ultrasound Unit

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The present study explored the application of a 20-kHz ultrasound unit for the disinfection of domestic wastewater. Experiments were conducted in batch with an ultrasound probe. The disinfection efficiency of fecal coliform increased with ultrasound power input from 0.003 log kill/min at 70 W/L to 1.8 log kill/min at 1250 W/L. Disinfection data are well-described by the Chick–Watson disinfection model (coefficient of dilution, n = 2.0) using ultrasound power in place of chemical concentration. Water quality did not affect disinfection efficiency significantly. Temperature increases experienced with ultrasonic treatment were significant. Attempts to control the temperature resulted in a marked decrease in disinfection efficiency. Experiments devised to quantify the role of thermal mechanisms revealed that of the total kill produced by ultrasound approximately 52% was attributed to heat, 36% to mechanical stresses associated with ultrasonically induced cavitation, and 12% to uncharacterized synergistic effects. Successful scale-up was demonstrated using a 9.3-L pilot-scale ultrasound unit, operated under flow-through conditions.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2002-03-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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