Marine Science Faculty Publications

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To preserve environmental and human health, improved treatment processes are needed to reduce nutrients, microbes, and emerging chemical contaminants from domestic wastewater prior to discharge into the environment. Electrocoagulation (EC) treatment is increasingly used to treat industrial wastewater; however, this technology has not yet been thoroughly assessed for its potential to reduce concentrations of nutrients, a variety of microbial surrogates, and personal care products found in domestic wastewater. This investigation's objective was to determine the efficiency of a benchtop EC unit with aluminum sacrificial electrodes to reduce concentrations of the aforementioned biological and chemical pollutants from raw and tertiary-treated domestic wastewater. EC treatment resulted in significant reductions (p < 0.05, α = 0.05) in phosphate, all microbial surrogates, and several personal care products from raw and tertiary-treated domestic wastewater. When wastewater was augmented with microbial surrogates representing bacterial, viral, and protozoan pathogens to measure the extent of reduction, EC treatment resulted in up to 7-log10 reduction of microbial surrogates. Future pilot and full-scale investigations are needed to optimize EC treatment for the following: reducing nitrogen species, personal care products, and energy consumption; elucidating the mechanisms behind microbial reductions; and performing life cycle analyses to determine the appropriateness of implementation.

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Scientific Reports, v. 5, art. 9380

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