Abstract

Tannery wastewater is known to contain high concentrations of organic compounds, heavy metals, nitrogen, sulphur, chromium, and many other chemicals. Both aerobic and anaerobic biological approaches have proven ineffective in the treatment of tannery wastewater due to the high salinity and toxic chemicals contained within the medium. Electrochemical oxidation presents a promising method for solving this problem. High pollutant removal efficiency, low energy consumption, and high electrode stability are three important factors supporting the feasibility of an efficient electrochemical treatment process. In the present study, electrochemical oxidation was performed as a post treatment for tannery wastewater (after biological pre-treatment) in a batch reactor using Ti/RuO2, Ti/IrO2, and Ti/BDD anodes. The effects of pH, current density, stirring rate and treatment time were studied to assess the treatment efficiency as well as the energy consumption of the process. The results showed that colour, COD, TOC, and TN removal efficiencies on the electrodes were: Ti/RuO2 (88.8%, 88.40%, 64.0%, 96.4%), Ti/IrO2 (85.40%, 85.9%, 52.3%, 51.4%), Ti/BDD (90.60%, 94.7%, 90.5%, 82.7%) respectively, at a current density of 80 mA/cm2. All three electrodes demonstrated optimal performance at a pH of 8, a stirring rate of 400 rpm, a current density of 80 mA/cm2, and an electrolysis time of 5 h. The concentration of tri-chloromethane by-product was detected with limiting value. Electrochemical oxidation thus offers a feasible method for removing organic compounds and nutrients from tannery wastewater.

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