The removal of non-biodegradable or refractory substances is expensive during both water and wastewater treatment. Tests were conducted with ozone to enhance the biodegradability of the organic substances in three different surface waters and two effluents. At low concentrations of biodegradable substances the effect of ozone could be measured by comparing the bacterial growth potential after ozonation with that in standard sodium acetate solutions while at higher concentrations the BOD to COD ratio could be used. In all the cases biodegradability could be improved substantially by ozonating to an optimum dosage where the increase was maximized. Ozonation offers an economical treatment option for certain oil-from-coal plant effluents because of the ease of oxidation and additional removal potential of organic substances by foam fractionation and biodegradation.

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