Many organic compounds contained in wastewater are resistant to conventional chemical and/or biological treatment. Because of this reason different degradation techniques are studied as an alternative to biological and classical physico-chemical processes. Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOPs) probably have developed to become the best options in the near future. AOP while making use of different reaction systems, are all characterised by the same chemical feature: production of OH radicals (*OH). The versatility of AOPs is also enhanced by the fact that they offer different possibilities for OH radical production, thus allowing them to conform to specific treatment requirements. The main problem with AOPs is their high cost. The application of solar technologies to these processes could help to diminish that problem by reducing the energy consumption required for generating UV radiation.
In this work, different AOPs (O3, TiO2/UV, Fenton and H2O2/UV) were examined to treat tannery wastewater or as a pre-treatment step for improving the biodegradation of tannery wastewater, at different pH and dosage of the chemicals. Under certain circumstances retardation in biodegradation and/or an increase in toxicity may be observed within these treatment steps. Two different bioassays (Daphnia magna and Vibrio fischeri) have been used for testing the progress of toxicity during the treatment. In parallel other objectives were to analyse and identify organic compounds present in the untreated wastewater and arising degradation products in AOP treated wastewater samples. For this purpose substance specific techniques, e.g., gas chromatography - mass spectrometry (GC-MS) in positive electron impact (EI(+)) mode and atmospheric pressure ionisation (API) in combination with flow injection analysis (FIA) or liquid chromatography - mass and tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS or LC-MS-MS) were performed.