The potential of ozonation for the removal of iodinated X-ray contrast media (ICM) with focus on the oxidation products was examined. Iopromide used as model compound was dissolved in tap water, respectively in the effluent of a membrane bioreactor and was ozonated. Ozone (10 mg/L) was continuously introduced into a semi-batch reactor (35 L/h). After 30 minutes the ozone concentration was increased to 30 mg/L. In all experiments the iopromide concentration decreased very fast, whereas the decrease of the amount of organic bound iodine (AOI) was much lower. The concentration of iodate, the inorganic oxidation product increases with time, depending on the AOI decrease. The data clearly show that the ozonation of iopromide using a common applied ozone dosage leads to the formation of numerous iodinated transformation products, which are detectable by LC-ESI-MS.

As an alternative treatment, especially for the treatment of urine or hospital waste water, the source for the contamination, it was tested if iopromide can be deiodinated by zero-valent iron. First experiments done in stirred batch reactors using iopromide dissolved in ultra pure water and urine with an initial pH of 2 showed that iopromide can be deiodinated completely by zero-valent iron. Even in contaminated urine collected in a hospital a deiodination of ICM was possible. Kinetic studies at constant pH showed that the deiodination can be described by pseudo-first order for equal iopromide and iron concentrations. The observed rate constant kobs increased with decreasing pH with a maximum at pH 3 with 4.76 × 10−4 s−1.

The concentration of iopromide can be decreased by ozonation and by the reductive dehalogenation. In case of ozonation iodinated organic compounds are the main reaction products, whereas the reductive dehalogenation leads to transformation products which are not iodinated and are thus most probable biodegradable.