In previous laboratory experiments Fenton's Reagent (FR) was successfully used as the source of hydroxyl radicals (OH•) for chemical treatment of low concentrations of methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) in water. Although under certain conditions MTBE degradation levels as high as 99.99% were achieved, none of these experiments resulted in complete MTBE mineralization. In all cases, these experiments applied FR as an equimolar concentration of ferrous iron (Fe2+) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). The present study investigates the effect of H2O2/Fe2+ molar ratio on the extent of degradation of MTBE and intermediate products in water at pH = 3.0. The initial concentration of MTBE studied was 0.0227 mM (approximately 2 mg/L). Initially, the dose of Fe2+ was kept constant at a Fe2+/MTBE molar ratio of 10:1 and the dose of H2O2 was varied to achieve different H2O2/Fe2+ molar ratios. The results revealed that higher degradation efficiency was achieved when FR was used as an equimolar mixture (H2O2/Fe2+ molar ratio = 1.0). The extent of MTBE degradation decreased when the H2O2/Fe2+ molar ratio was changed to values higher or lower than 1.0. These results suggest that a stoichiometric relationship (1:1) between the FR components optimizes the degradation process for this reactant system. It is hypothesized that an excess of H2O2 enhances the effect of reactions that scavenge OH•, while a decreased amount of H2O2 would be a limiting factor for the Fenton Reaction.

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