A real electroplating wastewater, containing heavy metals, cyanide, and organic contaminants, was treated by electrocoagulation (EC), H2O2 oxidation, H2O2 pre-oxidation followed by EC, and the anodic Fenton process and the efficacy of the processes was compared. Concentration of cyanide, Cu, Ni, Zn, and Cr was largely decreased by EC within 5 min. When the reaction time was extended, removal of residual cyanide, Cu, and Ni was limited. In H2O2 oxidation, the concentration of cyanide decreased from initial 75 to 12 mg L−1 in 30 min. The effluents from the H2O2 oxidation were further treated by EC or anodic Fenton. In EC, the concentration of total cyanide, Ni, and Cu decreased to below 0.3, 0.5, and 1.5 mg L−1, respectively. Removal efficiency of chemical oxygen demand by EC was less than 20.0%. By contrast, there was 73.5% reduction by the anodic Fenton process with 5 mM H2O2 at 30 min; this can be attributed to the oxidation induced by hydroxyl radicals generated by the reaction of H2O2 with the electrogenerated Fe2+. Meanwhile, residual cyanide, Cu, and Ni can also be efficiently removed. Transformation of organic components in various processes was analyzed using UV-visible and fluorescence excitation-emission spectra.

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