The effect of ozone based oxidation on removing recalcitrant organic matter (ROM) and enhancing the biodegradability of alkaline bleach plant effluent was investigated. A bubble column ozonation tower was used in the study. The experiments were carried out at different temperatures (20°C and 60°C) and pH (9 and 11), with a number of biological and chemical parameters being monitored including BOD5, COD, TC, pH, color, and molecular weight distribution of organics (nominal cut off of 1,000 Da). Biodegradability of the effluent was determined based on BOD5/COD of the wastewater throughout the process. For all the experiments, ozonation enhanced the biodegradability of the effluent by 30-40%, which was associated with noticeable removal of ROM including high molecular weight (HMW) and color-causing organics by about 30% and 60%, respectively. While the biodegradability of HMW fraction increased by about 50%, there was no biodegradability improvement for low molecular weight (LMW) portion, which was originally readily biodegradable (with BOD5/COD of about 0.5). Statistical analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed neither pH nor temperature played significant role on the ozonation process at 95% confidence level.

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