Evaluation of UV/H2O2 treatment for the oxidation of pharmaceuticals in wastewater

Fernando L. Rosario-Ortiz, Eric C. Wert, Shane A. Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

223 Scopus citations


Advanced oxidation treatment using low pressure UV light coupled with hydrogen peroxide (UV/H2O2) was evaluated for the oxidation of six pharmaceuticals in three wastewater effluents. The removal of these six pharmaceuticals (meprobamate, carbamazepine, dilantin, atenolol, primidone and trimethoprim) varied between no observed removal and >90%. The role of the water quality (i.e., alkalinity, nitrite, and specifically effluent organic matter (EfOM)) on hydroxyl radical ({radical dot}OH) exposure was evaluated and used to explain the differences in pharmaceutical removal between the three wastewaters. Results indicated that the efficacy of UV/H2O2 treatment for the removal of pharmaceuticals from wastewater was a function of not only the concentration of EfOM but also its inherent reactivity towards {radical dot}OH. The removal of pharmaceuticals also correlated with reductions in ultraviolet absorbance at 254 nm (UV254), which offers utilities a surrogate to assess pharmaceutical removal efficiency during UV/H2O2 treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1440-1448
Number of pages9
JournalWater research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Advanced oxidation process (AOP)
  • Effluent organic matter (EfOM)
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Pharmaceutical removal
  • UV
  • Water reuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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