Munitions manufacturing wastewater is commonly treated by adsorption to activated carbon. We are proposing a new munitions manufacturing wastewater treatment system consisting of a reductive pre-treatment process and subsequent Fenton's oxidation to mineralize energetic compounds such as TNT and RDX. The pre-treatment involves reduction of electron-withdrawing nitro groups of TNT and RDX with elemental iron. The iron-treated explosives are then oxidized by Fenton's reagent through the addition of H2O2. The objective of this work is to investigate the feasibility of using elemental iron to convert TNT and RDX to reduction products which may be more oxidizable in subsequent Fenton's oxidation. Results of batch reduction experiments with elemental iron showed complete removal of TNT and RDX and formation of the reduction products within 60 minutes. Results of column experiments showed a rapid and complete removal of TNT and RDX within 9.7 minutes retention time. Fitting observed effluent concentrations to a one-dimensional advection-dispersion equation, we were able to predict the concentration profiles of TNT and RDX in the iron column and calculate the iron column length required for the desired removal. The results of Fenton's oxidation experiments showed that iron pre-treatment enhanced both the rate and extent of TNT and RDX mineralization by Fenton's oxidation.

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