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In-situ water treatment can be accomplished using electrochemical treatments such as electrocoagulation (EC), which generates coagulants, and electrooxidation (EO), which generates oxidants (e.g., free chlorine and reactive oxygen species) via electrolysis using boron-doped diamond electrodes. In sequential EC-EO, EC can remove oxidant scavengers present in dissolved organic carbon (DOC), thereby improving the efficacy of downstream oxidation via EO. This study evaluated sequential EC-EO (and each process independently for comparison) for mitigating the trace organic compounds (TOrCs) acyclovir (ACY), trimethoprim (TMP), and benzyldimethyldecylammonium chloride (BAC-C10) in model groundwaters and surface waters. EO-only removed greater than 70% of ACY and TMP but negligible BAC-C10 in model groundwaters. In model surface waters, EO-only removed ∼55–75% BAC-C10, but had less removal for ACY and TMP (∼20–55%), primarily due to DOC interference. Sequential-EC-EO was investigated to better gauge the potential process improvement due to the addition of EC ahead of EO. EC removed 74 ± 7% DOC from model surface water and improved downstream EO treatment relative to EO-only by a factor of 3.4 for ACY, 1.7 for TMP, and 1.4 for BAC-C10. When treating model groundwater, EC-EO resulted in no improvement compared to EO-only for ACY and TMP. BAC-C10 removal was attributed to the particle separation step between EC and EO rather than electrochemical inputs. EO-only treatment was more energy efficient for model groundwater compared to model surface waters based on electrical energy per order (EEO) values. Sequential EC-EO further improved the energy efficiency for treating model river water.


Accepted version. Chemosphere, Vol. 273 (June 2021). DOI. © 2021 Elsevier. Used with permission.

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