In this work the optimal operating conditions for removing selected micropollutants (also known as emerging contaminants, ECs) from actual municipal wastewater by graphene adsorption (GA) and simultaneous electrocoagulation/electrofiltration (EC/EF) process, respectively, were first determined and evaluated. Then, performance and mechanisms for the removal of selected phthalates and pharmaceuticals from municipal wastewater simultaneously by the GA and EC/EF process were further assessed. ECs of concern included di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP), di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), acetaminophen (ACE), caffeine (CAF), cefalexin (CLX) and sulfamethoxazole (SMX). It was found that GA plus EC/EF process yielded the following removal efficiencies: DnBP, 89 ± 2%; DEHP, 85 ± 3%; ACE, 99 ± 2%; CAF, 94 ± 3%; CLX, 100 ± 0%; and SMX, 98 ± 2%. Carbon adsorption, size exclusion, electrostatic repulsion, electrocoagulation, and electrofiltration were considered as the main mechanisms for the removal of target ECs by the integrated process indicated above.

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