Effectiveness of Engineered and Natural Wastewater Treatment Processes for the Removal of Trace Organics in Water Reuse

Long Cheng, Tianqi Zhang, Hao Vo, Daniel Diaz, David M Quanrud, Robert G Arnold, Avelino E Saez

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3 Scopus citations


The physicochemical and biological determinants of removal efficiencies in a variety of engineered and natural processes were explored for 55 frequently encountered trace organic compounds (TOrCs) in wastewater. Weak correlations between field observations and predicted TOrC biodegradabilities led to adoption of an empirical approach to prediction of compound removal during conventional wastewater treatment. The efficiencies of TOrC removals by UV photolysis (direct and indirect), activated carbon adsorption, membrane separation (reverse osmosis or nanofiltration), and sunlight photolysis were determined under representative process conditions. Results led to heuristic guidelines for the selection of sequenced treatment processes for TOrC management. Process- and compound-specific treatment efficiencies were sensitive to TOrC physicochemical properties and matrix effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number03117004
JournalJournal of Environmental Engineering (United States)
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2017



  • Advanced oxidation process
  • Biotransformation
  • Photolysis
  • Tertiary wastewater treatment
  • Trace organic compounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Environmental Science(all)

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