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Reduction of Photoreactivation with the Combined UV/Peracetic Acid Process or by Delayed Exposure to Visible Light

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Photoreactivation of microorganisms following UV inactivation is a well-known, but complex, phenomenon. It is affected by several factors, including UV fluence, wavelength, light intensity, and exposure time to photoreactivating light. The effect on photoreactivation of a combined peracetic acid (PAA)/UV process has not been investigated. Accordingly, this study compared the degree of photoreactivation, under both sunlight and artificial lights, following UV and combined PAA/UV inactivation of fecal coliforms.



Effluent samples from the Montreal Wastewater Treatment Plant (MWTP) (Quebec, Canada) were exposed, for 3 hours, to both low- and high-intensity artificial lights and sunlight. All resulted in similar photoreactivation levels. However, average photoreactivation for UV-treated wastewater samples was 1.2 logs, compared with 0.1 log for the combined PAA/UV treatment. Hence, the use of PAA in combination with UV can significantly reduce the potential for photoreactivation.



To simulate the photoreactivation conditions of the MWTP effluent (which passes through a 4-km outfall tunnel with approximately 3 hours detention time), UV-treated samples were kept in the dark for 3 hours before photoreactivating light exposure. After this period, photoreactivation levels were close to zero. Hence, the effects of photoreactivation may be diminished by use of a combined disinfection scheme and/or by delaying exposure of the disinfected wastewater to light.
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Keywords: UV; dark repair; disinfection; peracetic acid; photoreactivation; wastewater

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-09-01

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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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