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Oxidation of Selected Pharmaceuticals in Water Matrices by Bromine and Chlorine

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


The bromination of five selected pharmaceuticals (metoprolol, naproxen, amoxicillin, hydrochlorotiazide and phenacetin) in ultrapure water and in three water matrices (a groundwater, a surface water from a public reservoir and a secondary effluent from a WWTP) was investigated. The apparent rate constants for the bromination reaction were determined as a function of the pH, and the sequence obtained for the reaction rate was amoxicillin > naproxen >> hydrochlorotiazide ≈ phenacetin ≈ metoprolol. The proposal of a kinetic mechanism, which specifies the dissociation of bromine and each pharmaceutical according to their pKa values and the pH allowed the determination of the intrinsic rate constants for every elementary reaction. The influence of the main operating conditions (pH, initial bromine dose, and the water matrix) on the degradation of pharmaceuticals was established. In addition, the presence of bromide in chlorination experiments was investigated. The presence of bromide in wastewaters and drinking waters in the range of 10 to several hundred μg L-1 accelerated slightly the oxidation of the selected pharmaceuticals during chorine disinfection.

Keywords: Pharmaceuticals, Chlorine, bromine, apparent andintrinsic rate constants, water matrices, degradation rates

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