Decolorization of anthraquinone dye Reactive Blue 19 (RB19) with sulfate radicals generated in situ from persulfate and zero-valent iron (ZVI) was investigated. The effects of initial solution pH, initial concentration of RB19, ZVI and persulfate, reaction temperature and common dissolved anions were studied. 100% color removal efficiency and 54% TOC removal efficiency were achieved in 45 min with an initial RB19 concentration of 0.1 mM under typical conditions (pH 7.0, 0.8 g L−1 ZVI, 10 mM persulfate and 30 °C). The decolorization efficiency of RB19 increased with higher iron dosage, higher initial persulfate concentration, and higher reaction temperature. It is also an acid driven process. The decolorization process followed pseudo-first order kinetics and the activation energy was 98.1 kJ mol−1. RB19 decolorization was inhibited by common dissolved anions such as Cl, NO3, H2PO4 and HCO3 since they reacted with sulfate radicals that retarded the oxidation process. The experiment demonstrated that the combination of persulfate and ZVI was a promising technology for the decolorization of dye wastewater.

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