Chemical oxidation for mitigation of UV-quenching substances (UVQS) from municipal landfill leachate: Fenton process versus ozonation

Chanil Jung, Yang Deng, Renzun Zhao, Kevin Torrens

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UV-quenching substance (UVQS), as an emerging municipal solid waste (MSW)-derived leachate contaminant, has a potential to interfere with UV disinfection when leachate is disposed of at publicly owned treatment works (POTWs). The objective of this study was to evaluate and compare two chemical oxidation processes under different operational conditions, i.e. Fenton process and ozonation, for alleviation of UV254 absorbance of a biologically pre-treated landfill leachate. Results showed that leachate UV254 absorbance was reduced due to the UVQS decomposition by hydroxyl radicals (·OH) during Fenton treatment, or by ozone (O3) and ·OH during ozonation. Fenton process exhibited a better treatment performance than ozonation under their respective optimal conditions, because ·OH could effectively decompose both hydrophobic and hydrophilic dissolved organic matter (DOM), but O3 tended to selectively oxidize hydrophobic compounds alone. Different analytical techniques, including molecular weight (MW) fractionation, hydrophobic/hydrophilic isolation, UV spectra scanning, parallel factor (PARAFAC) analysis, and fluorescence excitation-emission matrix spectrophotometry, were used to characterize UVQS. After either oxidation treatment, residual UVQS was more hydrophilic with a higher fraction of low MW molecules. It should be noted that the removed UV254 absorbance (ΔUV254) was directly proportional to the removed COD (ΔCOD) for the both treatments (Fenton process: ΔUV254 = 0.011ΔCOD; ozonation: ΔUV254 = 0.016ΔCOD). A greater ΔUV254/ΔCOD was observed for ozonation, suggesting that oxidant was more efficiently utilized during ozonation than in Fenton treatment for mitigation of the UV absorbance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-270
Number of pages11
JournalWater Research
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Fenton treatment
  • Landfill leachate
  • Ozonation
  • UV absorbance
  • UV-quenching substances


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