Activation of Persulfate at Waste Heat Temperatures for Humic Acid Degradation

  • Ikechukwu A. Ike*
    Ikechukwu A. Ike
    Institute for Sustainability and Innovation, College of Engineering and Science, Victoria University, Hoppers Lane Werribee, Melbourne, Victoria 8001, Australia
    *Tel.: +61 3 99198292. E-mail: [email protected], [email protected]
  • John D. Orbell
    John D. Orbell
    Institute for Sustainability and Innovation, College of Engineering and Science, Victoria University, Hoppers Lane Werribee, Melbourne, Victoria 8001, Australia
  • , and 
  • Mikel Duke
    Mikel Duke
    Institute for Sustainability and Innovation, College of Engineering and Science, Victoria University, Hoppers Lane Werribee, Melbourne, Victoria 8001, Australia
    More by Mikel Duke
Cite this: ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. 2018, 6, 3, 4345–4353
Publication Date (Web):February 13, 2018
Copyright © 2018 American Chemical Society
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Supporting Info (1)»


Humic acid (HA) as a major constituent of natural organic matter (NOM) in raw water presents major challenges to drinking water production including membrane fouling and serving as a precursor for the production of disinfection byproducts (DBPs). This study demonstrates the feasibility of HA degradation by heat-activated persulfate (PS) mainly at a waste heat temperature of 40 °C, but also at 60 and 90 °C in which ∼70% TOC loss was achieved within 168, 24, and 1 h, respectively. The use of waste heat for water treatment eliminates reliance on electricity, which is a requirement for conventional advanced oxidation processes. Heat-activated PS treatment of synthetic raw water at 40 °C was also shown to significantly reduce ultrafiltration membrane fouling. Low concentration of chloride (≤0.9 mM) accelerated PS degradation of HA, but the promotion was lost at higher concentration (≥9 mM). HA spiked into tap water was degraded by PS even at 25 °C, suggesting activation by trace minerals present within regulatory limits. Overall, the results of this study promise a sustainable and low-cost water treatment option.

Supporting Information

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The Supporting Information is available free of charge on the ACS Publications website at DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.7b04840.

  • UV spectra for selected organic compounds; retention times for selected chemicals; normalized flux profile for raw water after treatment at 40 °C for 336 h without added PS; and tap water chemical analysis (PDF)

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