The phenol content of a petroleum refinery wastewater was reduced below the discharge limit following treatment with horseradish peroxidase and H2O2. Approximately 58% of COD, 78% of BOD5, and 95% of toxicity were removed along with the phenols. As a result of treatment, phenols were transformed into less biodegradable compounds which could be removed by subsequent coagulation and precipitation. Optimization of the peroxide concentration led to 20% enzyme savings. The use of PEG and chitosan as protective additives resulted in 4 and 25-fold reductions in enzyme requirements, respectively. Phenol removal did not appear to be adversely affected by the presence of other hydrocarbons that are frequently present in refinery wastewaters.

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