Integration of heterogeneous photocatalysis (TiO2/UV) and activated sludge system operated in Air Lift reactor for the treatment of industrial effluent Red Water
In the industrial production of the explosive 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT), purification steps are required to ensure the quality of the product, procedures that generate wastewater of a complex nature and with eco-toxicological potential, called red water, which consists of soluble sulfonates, TNT isomers, and other typical nitro aromatic compounds. The present work aimed to study the effects of integrating heterogeneous photocatalysis based on commercial TiO2, with a biological process, based on activated sludge, for red water treatment. For the photocatalytic treatment, a 72% reduction in the typical absorption of nitro aromatic compounds (the region between 195 - 275 nm), a 36% reduction in chemical oxygen demand (COD), and a 68% reduction in total phenols were obtained. In the biological treatment, there was a 60% reduction in absorbance in the typical nitro aromatics region (NA), 10% reduction in COD, and 36% reduction in total phenols (FT). The integration of photocatalytic and biological treatments showed promising results compared to the individual processes. Having 94% reduction in NA absorbance, 72% reduction in FT, and 89% reduction in COD with an association of photocatalytic pre-treatment followed by biological, and reductions of 88% in NA absorbance, 62% in FT, and 87% in COD for a biological pre-treatment followed by the photocatalytic process. In general, when comparing the chemical and biological processes, isolated and integrated, both types of integration showed significantly superior results. They were able to remove the main nitro aromatic constituents of the Red Water effluent.