Kinetic assessment and modeling of an ozonation step for full-scale municipal wastewater treatment: micropollutant oxidation, by-product formation and disinfection

Saskia G Zimmermann, Mathias Wittenwiler, Juliane Hollender, Martin Krauss, Christoph Ort, Hansruedi Siegrist, Urs von Gunten
Water Research 2011, 45 (2): 605-17
The kinetics of oxidation and disinfection processes during ozonation in a full-scale reactor treating secondary wastewater effluent were investigated for seven ozone doses ranging from 0.21 to 1.24 g O(3) g(-1) dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Substances reacting fast with ozone, such as diclofenac or carbamazepine (k(P, O3) > 10(4) M(-1) s(-1)), were eliminated within the gas bubble column, except for the lowest ozone dose of 0.21 g O(3) g(-1) DOC. For this low dose, this could be attributed to short-circuiting within the reactor. Substances with lower ozone reactivity (k(P, O3) < 10(4) M(-1) s(-1)) were only fully eliminated for higher ozone doses. The predictions of micropollutant oxidation based on coupling reactor hydraulics with ozone chemistry and reaction kinetics were up to a factor of 2.5 higher than full-scale measurements. Monte Carlo simulations showed that the observed differences were higher than model uncertainties. The overestimation of micropollutant oxidation was attributed to a protection of micropollutants from ozone attack by the interaction with aquatic colloids. Laboratory-scale batch experiments using wastewater from the same full-scale treatment plant could predict the oxidation of slowly-reacting micropollutants on the full-scale level within a factor of 1.5. The Rct value, the experimentally determined ratio of the concentrations of hydroxyl radicals and ozone, was identified as a major contribution to this difference. An increase in the formation of bromate, a potential human carcinogen, was observed with increasing ozone doses. The final concentration for the highest ozone dose of 1.24 g O(3) g(-1) DOC was 7.5 μg L(-1), which is below the drinking water standard of 10 μg L(-1). N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) formation of up to 15 ng L(-1) was observed in the first compartment of the reactor, followed by a slight elimination during sand filtration. Assimilable organic carbon (AOC) increased up to 740 μg AOC L(-1), with no clear trend when correlated to the ozone dose, and decreased by up to 50% during post-sand filtration. The disinfection capacity of the ozone reactor was assessed to be 1-4.5 log units in terms of total cell counts (TCC) and 0.5 to 2.5 log units for Escherichia coli (E. coli). Regrowth of up to 2.5 log units during sand filtration was observed for TCC while no regrowth occurred for E. coli. E. coli inactivation could not be accurately predicted by the model approach, most likely due to shielding of E. coli by flocs.

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