Removal of organic contaminants from secondary effluent by anodic oxidation with a boron-doped diamond anode as tertiary treatment

Sergi Garcia-Segura, Jürg Keller, Enric Brillas, Jelena Radjenovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

248 Scopus citations


Electrochemical advanced oxidation processes (EAOPs) have been widely investigated as promising technologies to remove trace organic contaminants from water, but have rarely been used for the treatment of real waste streams. Anodic oxidation with a boron-doped diamond (BDD) anode was applied for the treatment of secondary effluent from a municipal sewage treatment plant containing 29 target pharmaceuticals and pesticides. The effectiveness of the treatment was assessed from the contaminants decay, dissolved organic carbon and chemical oxygen demand removal. The effect of applied current and pH was evaluated. Almost complete mineralization of effluent organic matter and trace contaminants can be obtained by this EAOP primarily due to the action of hydroxyl radicals formed at the BDD surface. The oxidation of Cl- ions present in the wastewater at the BDD anode gave rise to active chlorine species (Cl2/HClO/ClO-), which are competitive oxidizing agents yielding chloramines and organohalogen byproducts, quantified as adsorbable organic halogen. However, further anodic oxidation of HClO/ClO- species led to the production of ClO3- and ClO4- ions. The formation of these species hampers the application as a single-stage tertiary treatment, but posterior cathodic reduction of chlorate and perchlorate species may reduce the risks associated to their presence in the environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-557
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Boron-doped diamond anode
  • Electrochemical oxidation
  • Micropollutants
  • Secondary effluent
  • Tertiary water treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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