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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.

Keywords: UV; dark repair; disinfection; peracetic acid; photoreactivation; wastewater

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2007

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  • 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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