Removal of pharmaceutical residues from municipal wastewater using UV/H2O2

Different studies have indicated limitations of treatment technologies such as ozone oxidation and active carbon for certain particularly persistent substances in municipal wastewater. Therefore, the use of advanced oxidation treatment using UV light coupled with hydrogen peroxide (UV/H2O2) for the oxidation of pharmaceutical residues in municipal wastewater effluents was investigated.
The conducted tests, comprising both lab-scale and pilot-scale studies, show good removal efficiencies for all pharmaceuticals observed in the effluent of Stockholm’s largest WWTP. A clear dose-response behaviour is observed that can be used for targeting various substances depending on removal target definition.
The cost evaluation of the technique reveals that UV/H2O2 applications may be more cost intensive compared to other technologies, especially ozonation and activated carbon. However, compared to combinations of several technologies such as ozonation and activated carbon or technologies with ultrafiltration, UV/H2O2 applications may be in the same or lower cost range. Based on the project results it is understood that the gap in costs towards other removal techniques is not that wide and that several advantages of the UV/H2O2 technology may favour its application in various cases. For this, further investigations are planned by the project partners.

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