UV/H2O2 process stability and pilot-scale validation for trace organic chemical removal from wastewater treatment plant effluents

David B. Miklos, Rebecca Hartl, Philipp Michel, Karl G. Linden, Jörg E. Drewes, Uwe Hübner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


This study investigated the removal of 15 trace organic chemicals (TOrCs) occurring at ambient concentrations from municipal wastewater treatment plant effluent by advanced oxidation using UV/H2O2 at pilot-scale. Pseudo first-order rate constants (kobs) for photolytic as well as combined oxidative and photolytic degradation observed at pilot-scale were validated with results from a bench-scale collimated beam device. No significant difference was determined between pilot- and lab-scale performance. During continuous pilot-scale operation at constant UV fluence of 800 mJ/cm2 and H2O2 dosage of 10 mg/L, the removal of various TOrCs was investigated. The average observed removal for photo-susceptible (kUV>10−3 cm2/mJ; like diclofenac, iopromide and sulfamethoxazole), moderately photo-susceptible (10−4<kUV<10−3 cm2/mJ; like climbazole, tramadol, sotalol, citalopram, benzotriazole, venlafaxine and metoprolol), and most photo-resistant (kUV<10−4 cm2/mJ; like primidone, carbamazepine and gabapentin) compounds was 90%, 49% and 37% including outliers, respectively. The poorly reactive compound TCEP was not significantly eliminated during pilot-scale experiments. Additionally, based on removal kinetics of photo-resistant TOrCs, continuous pilot-scale operation revealed high variations of OH-radical exposure determined from removal kinetics of photo-resistant TOrCs, primarily due to nitrite concentration fluctuations in the feed water. Furthermore, a correlation between OH-radical exposure and scavenging capacity could be determined and verified by mechanistic modeling using UV fluence, H2O2 dosage, and standard water quality parameters (i.e., DOC, NO3, NO2 and HCO3) as model input data. This correlation revealed the possibility of OH-radical exposure prediction by water matrix parameters and proved its applicability for pilot-scale operations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-179
Number of pages11
JournalWater Research
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • Advanced oxidation
  • Modeling
  • OH-Radical exposure
  • Pilot-scale operation
  • Trace organic chemicals
  • Wastewater treatment


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