Photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) is a promising technology for purification of biological pretreated wastewater or destruction of non-biodegradable compounds. For this reason PCO has been investigated as a last step of purification of biologically pre-treated paper-mill effluents. The influence of the parameters pH, TiO2-modification, TiO2-concentration, catalyst re-use, concentration of substances to be oxidised (wastewater quality) has been determined. The TOC of the biologically pretreated wasterwater was up to 55 mg L-1. This wastewater was treated with a previously presented aerated cascade photoreactor which was modified for batch experiments. A high specific oxidation rate of up to 0.76 g TOC m-2 h-1 as well as a complete TOC mineralization has been achieved after the optimisation of the process parameters. The complete destruction of recalcitrant compounds will offer the opportunity to reuse the wastewater in the production process. The increase of the BOD5/TOC ratio after a short irradiation period indicates the transformation of recalcitrant organic compounds to better biodegradable intermediates. The use of PCO as a pre-treatment step for the enhancement of the biodegradability of wastewater, containing recalcitrant or inhibitory compounds is an alternative to a long and energy-intensive total pollutant mineralization.

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