Optimization of Fenton's oxidation of chemical laboratory wastewaters using the response surface methodology

Cláudia Telles Benatti, Célia Regina Granhen Tavares, Terezinha Aparecida Guedes
Journal of Environmental Management 2006, 80 (1): 66-74
Establishing a treatment process for practical and economic disposal of laboratory wastewaters has become an urgent environmental concern of the Department of Chemical Engineering of the Universidade Estadual de Maringá (State University of Maringá), Brazil. Fenton and related reactions are potentially useful oxidation processes for destroying toxic organic compounds in water. In these reactions, hydrogen peroxide is combined with ferrous or ferric iron in the presence or absence of light to generate hydroxyl radicals (.OH). The feasibility of Fenton's reagent to treat waste chemicals from an academic research laboratory was investigated in this study. A response surface methodology was applied to optimize the Fenton oxidation process conditions using chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal as the target parameter to optimize, and the reagent concentrations, as related to the initial concentration of organic matter in the effluent, and pH as the control factors to be optimized. Maximal COD removal (92.3%) was achieved when wastewater samples were treated at pH 4 in the presence of hydrogen peroxide and iron in the ratios [COD]:[H2O2]=1:9 and [H2O2]:[Fe2+]=4.5:1. Under these conditions, it was possible to obtain simultaneously maximal COD removal and minimal chemical sludge after treatment, which is a residue that needs further processing.

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