Iron(VI) and iron(V), known as ferrates, are powerful oxidants and their reactions with pollutants are typically fast with the formation of non-toxic by-products. Oxidations performed by Fe(VI) and Fe(V) show pH dependence; faster rates are observed at lower pH. Fe(VI) shows excellent disinfectant properties and can inactivate a wide variety of microorganisms at low Fe(VI) doses. Fe(VI) also possesses efficient coagulation properties and enhanced coagulation can also be achieved using Fe(VI) as a preoxidant. The reactivity of Fe(V) with pollutants is approximately 3–5 orders of magnitude faster than that of Fe(VI). Fe(V) can thus be used to oxidize pollutants and inactivate microorganisms that have resistance to Fe(VI). The final product of Fe(VI) and Fe(V) reduction is Fe(III), a non-toxic compound. Moreover, treatments by Fe(VI) do not give any mutagenic/carcinogenic by-products, which make ferrates environmentally friendly ions. This paper reviews the potential role of iron(VI) and iron(V) as oxidants and disinfectants in water and wastewater treatment processes. Examples are given to demonstrate the multifunctional properties of ferrates to purify water and wastewater

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