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The Occurrence of Cyanide Formation in Six Full-Scale Publicly Owned Treatment Works

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This paper presents results from an intensive monitoring program implemented at six full-scale publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) to investigate the fate and formation of cyanide in wastewater treatment processes, with a focus on chlorination and dechlorination processes. A review of historical monitoring data for cyanide species in these POTWs was also conducted. This POTW monitoring program provided a database for the investigation of cyanide formation in wastewater secondary treatment. Data from participating POTWs showed evidence of cyanide formation in this 1-year monitoring effort, although the cyanide formation pattern varied significantly from one plant to another and among seasons. Generally, the chlorination of thiocyanate (SCN) seems to be the most important mechanism for the formation of cyanide in wastewater treatment processes, especially in chlorination and dechlorination. This hypothesis is supported by the findings of a related laboratory study of mechanisms of cyanide formation in POTWs. It is recommended that POTWs monitor SCN in influent and secondary effluent to identify its presence and adjust chlorine dose appropriately.
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Keywords: CHLORINATION; CYANIDE FORMATION; DISINFECTION; MONITORING; PUBLICLY OWNED TREATMENT WORKS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-03-01

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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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