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A Comparison Study of the Removal of Selected Pharmaceuticals in Waters by Chemical Oxidation Treatments

Authors: F. Javier Benitez, Juan Luis Acero, Francisco J. Real, Gloria Roldan, Francisco Casas


The degradation of selected pharmaceuticals in some water matrices was studied by using several chemical treatments. The pharmaceuticals selected were the beta-blocker metoprolol, the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory naproxen, the antibiotic amoxicillin, and the analgesic phenacetin; and their degradations were conducted by using UV radiation alone, ozone, Fenton-s reagent, Fenton-like system, photo-Fenton system, and combinations of UV radiation and ozone with H2O2, TiO2, Fe(II), and Fe(III). The water matrices, in addition to ultra-pure water, were a reservoir water, a groundwater, and two secondary effluents from two municipal WWTP. The results reveal that the presence of any second oxidant enhanced the oxidation rates, with the systems UV/TiO2 and O3/TiO2 providing the highest degradation rates. It is also observed in most of the investigated oxidation systems that the degradation rate followed the sequence: amoxicillin > naproxen > metoprolol > phenacetin. Lower rates were obtained with the pharmaceuticals dissolved in natural waters and secondary effluents due to the organic matter present which consume some amounts of the oxidant agents.

Keywords: Pharmaceuticals, UV radiation, ozone, advancedoxidation processes, water matrices, degradation rates

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