The effects of salinity on the photodegradation and mineralization of sulfonamides in the UV/TiO2 system were investigated. The goals of this study were to analyze the effects of pH and salinity on the sulfonamide concentration and total organic carbon (TOC) during the removal of sulfonamides in a UV/TiO2 system. Four sulfonamides – sulfadiazine (SDZ), sulfamethizole (SFZ), sulfamethoxazole (SMX) and sulfathiazole (STZ) - were selected as parent compounds. The photodegradation and mineralization rates of sulfonamides in the UV/TiO2 system satisfy pseudo-first-order kinetics. Direct photolysis degraded sulfonamides but sulfonamides cannot be mineralized. The photodegradation and mineralization rate constants in all experiments followed the order pH 5 > pH 7 > pH 9. At pH 5, the mineralization rate constants of SMX, SFZ, SDZ and STZ were 0.015, 0.009, 0.012 and 0.011 min−1, respectively. The addition of NaCl inhibited the mineralization of the four tested sulfonamides more than it inhibited their photodegradation. The inhibitory effect of chloride ions on the removal of sulfonamides in the UV/TiO2 system was attributed to the scavenging by chloride ions of hydroxyl radicals (HO•) and holes and the much lower reactivity of chlorine radicals thus formed, even though the chlorine radicals were more abundant than HO•.

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