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Methyl Tert-Butyl Ether (MTBE) Degradation by Ferrous Ion-Activated Persulfate Oxidation: Feasibility and Kinetics Studies

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The objective of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of using ferrous ion-activated persulfate oxidation to remediate groundwater contaminated with methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE). In this study, batch experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of various factors on the efficiency of MTBE degradation including persulfate concentrations, ferrous ion concentrations, and persulfate coupled with hydrogen peroxide. Results show that ferrous ion-activated persulfate oxidation was capable of degrading MTBE efficiently. Persulfate and ferrous ion concentrations correlated with MTBE degradation rates. However, excess addition of ferrous ion resulted in decreased MTBE degrading rates most likely because of competition for sulfate free radicals between ferrous ion and MTBE. Two main byproducts of MTBE degradation, tert-butyl formate and tert-butyl alcohol, were detected in the experiments; both were, however, subsequently degraded. Results of sulfate analysis show that proper addition of ferrous ion could prevent unnecessary persulfate decomposition.

Keywords: Fenton's reaction; Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE); ferrous ion; in situ chemical oxidation (ISCO); persulfate

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2009

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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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