Spectroscopic study on transformations of dissolved organic matter in coal-to-liquids wastewater under integrated chemical oxidation and biological treatment process

Siwei Peng , Xuwen He , Hongwei Pan


Received January 26, 2018,Revised , Accepted April 08, 2018, Available online April 17, 2018

Volume 30,2018,Pages 206-216

A large amount of wastewater containing various toxic organic contaminants is produced during coal-to-liquids process. In this study, several spectroscopic methods were used to monitor the transformation of organic pollutants during an integrated chemical oxidation and biological process. The results showed that the hydrophobic acid fraction increased after Fenton oxidation, which was likely due to the production of small-molecule organic acids. Soluble microbial products were generated during biological treatment processes, which were degraded after ozonation; meanwhile, the hydrophilic base and acid components increased. Ultraviolet-visible spectroscopic analysis indicated that peaks at the absorption wavelengths of 280 and 254 nm, which are associated with aromatic substances, were detected in the raw water. The aromatic substances were gradually removed, becoming undetectable after biological aeration filter (BAF) treatment. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy analysis revealed that the functional groups of phenols; benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX); aromatic hydrocarbons; aliphatic acids; aldehydes; and esters were present in raw wastewater. The organic substances were oxidized into small molecules after Fenton treatment. Aromatic hydrocarbons were effectively removed through bioadsorption and biodegradation after BAF process. Biodegradable organic matter was reduced and finally became undetectable after anoxic–oxic treatment in combination with a membrane bioreactor. Four fluorescent components were fractionated and obtained via excitation–emission matrix parallel factor analysis (EEM-PARAFAC). Dissolved organic matter fractionation in conjunction with EEM-PARAFAC was able to monitor more precisely the evolution of characteristic organic contaminants.

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