Original Date: 11/03/1996
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Advanced Oxidation Processes
A recently-completed Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), involving the Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant, a surfactant producer, an ozone/ultraviolet equipment manufacturer, and a major university’s environmental engineering department, has demonstrated the merits of ozone/ultraviolet treatment of concentrated aqueous wastes which contain surfactants. The CRADA served as a practical evaluation of advanced oxidation processes (AOPs). These AOPs deal with enhancing the aerobic digestion of surfactants normally resistant to aerobic digestion.
The Clean Water Act of 1990 put surfactant and industrial users at significant economic and legal risk. Meeting wastewater discharge standards became difficult and expensive with conventional treatment methods. The United States consumes over 7.5 billion pounds per year of surfactant which is valued at more than $2 billion. While industrial processes consume about 45% of all surfactants, the remaining (55%) goes into consumer products. An improved waste management technology would allow surfactant manufacturers to increase production and meet wastewater discharge standards at reduced cost and liability.
AOPs use ozone, hydrogen peroxide, ultraviolet light, and catalysts (alone or in combination) to oxidize organic materials. Ozone, a powerful oxidant, has been used in Europe since 1905 to treat drinking and waste waters. However, its use in the United States is limited. The CRADA’s goal was to integrate AOPs with pollution prevention and conventional treatment methods. Specifically, it was to partially oxidize biorecalcitrant-surfactant molecules to intermediates that could be more easily removed through traditional aerobic digestion.
The advanced oxidation technologies, tested and demonstrated through the CRADA, are applicable to treating the highly-varied wastes generated by the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) and Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) facilities and laboratories. In addition, these technologies are pertinent in environmental restoration (ER) and waste management at these and other federal agency facilities. Advanced oxidation can destroy organic constituents in a wide variety of wastes while raising inorganic constituents to high oxidation states so the inorganic constituents can be predictably and repeatedly removed by conventional treatment processes.
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.