Jun 2009, Volume 3 Issue 2

  • Select all
    Chad D. VECITIS, Hyunwoong PARK, Jie CHENG, Brian T. MADER, Michael R. HOFFMANN

    Fluorochemicals (FCs) are oxidatively recalcitrant, environmentally persistent, and resistant to most conventional treatment technologies. FCs have unique physiochemical properties derived from fluorine which is the most electronegative element. Perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS), and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) have been detected globally in the hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. Reducing treatment technologies such as reverses osmosis, nano-filtration and activated carbon can? remove ?FCs ?from ?water. ?However,? incineration ?of the concentrated waste is required for complete FC destruction. Recently, a number of alternative technologies for FC decomposition have been reported. The FC degradation technologies span a wide range of chemical processes including direct photolysis, photocatalytic oxidation, photochemical oxidation, photochemical reduction, thermally-induced reduction, and sonochemical pyrolysis. This paper reviews these FC degradation technologies in terms of kinetics, mechanism, energetic cost, and applicability. The optimal PFOS/PFOA treatment method is strongly dependent upon the FC concentration, background organic and metal concentration, and available degradation time.


    The distribution of polyfluoroalkyl compounds (PFCs) in the dissolved and particulate phase and their discharge from the river Elbe into the North Sea were studied. The PFCs quantified included C4-C8 perfluorinated sulfonates (PFSAs), 6∶2 fluorotelomer sulfonate (6∶2 FTS), C6 and C8 perfluorinated sulfinates (PFSiAs), C4-C12 perfluorinated carboxylic acids (PFCAs), perfluoro-3,7-dimethyl-octanoic acid (3,7m2-PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonamide (FOSA), and n-ethyl perfluroctane sulfonamidoethanol (EtFOSE). PFCs were mostly distributed in the dissolved phase, where perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) dominated with 2.9-12.5 ng/L. In the suspended particulate matter FOSA and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) showed the highest concentrations (4.0 ng/L and 2.3 ng/L, respectively). The total flux of ∑PFCs from the river Elbe was estimated to be 802 kg/year for the dissolved phase and 152 kg/year for the particulate phase. This indicates that the river Elbe acts as a source of PFCs into the North Sea. However, the concentrations of perfluorobutane sulfonate (PFBS) and perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA) in the North Sea were higher than that in the river Elbe, thus an alternative source must exist for these compounds.

    Shubo DENG, Danmeng SHUAI, Qiang YU, Jun HUANG, Gang YU

    Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), as a potential persistent organic pollutant, has been widely detected in water environments, and has become a great concern in recent years. PFOS is very stable and difficult to decompose using conventional techniques. Sorption may be an attractive method to remove it from water. In this study, the molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) adsorbents were prepared through the polymerization of 4-vinylpyridine under different preparation conditions in order to remove perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) from water. The MIP adsorbents using perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) as the template had good imprinting effects and could selectively remove PFOS from aqueous solution. The sorption behaviors including sorption kinetics, isotherms, and effect of pH, salt, and competitive anions were investigated. Experimental results showed that the sorption of PFOS on the MIP adsorbents was very fast, pH-dependent, and highly selective. The achieved fast sorption equilibrium within 1 h was attributed to the surface sorption on the fine adsorbents. The sorption isotherms showed that the sorption selectivity of PFOS on the MIP adsorbents decreased at high PFOS concentrations, which may be due to the double-layer sorption and the formation of PFOS micelles on the sorbent surface. The sorption of PFOS on the MIP adsorbents was mainly dominated by the electrostatic interaction between the protonated vinylpyridine on the adsorbent surface and the anionic PFOS. The prepared MIP adsorbents can potentially be applied in water and wastewater treatment for selective removal of PFOS.

    Suiliang HUANG, Yafei JIA, Sam S. Y. WANG

    The effects of chemical spills on aquatic non-target organisms were evaluated in this study. Based on a review of three types of current eco-toxicological models of chemicals, i.e., ACQUATOX model of the US-EPA, Hudson River Model of PCBs, and critical body residual (CBR) model and dynamic energy budget (DEBtox) model, this paper presents an uncoupled numerical eco-toxicological model. The transport and transformation of spilled chemicals were simulated by a chemical transport model (including flow and sediment transport), and the mortalities of an organism caused by the chemicals were simulated by the extended threshold damage model, separately. Due to extreme scarcity of data, this model was applied to two hypothetical cases of chemical spills happening upstream of a lake. Theoretical analysis and simulated results indicated that this model is capable of reasonably predicting the acute effects of chemical spills on aquatic ecosystems or organism killings.

    Shicheng XU, Junhua LI, Dong YANG, Jiming HAO

    The reaction mechanisms of selective catalytic reduction (SCR) of nitric oxide (NO) by methane (CH4) over solid superacid-based catalysts were proposed and testified by DRIFTS studies on transient reaction as well as by kinetic models. Catalysts derived from different supports would lead to different reaction pathways, and the acidity of solid superacid played an important role in determining the reaction mechanisms and the catalytic activities. Higher ratios of Br?nsted acid sites to Lewis acid sites would lead to stronger oxidation of methane and then could facilitate the step of methane activation. Strong Br?nsted acid sites would not necessarily lead to better catalytic performance, however, since the active surface NOy species and the corresponding reaction routes were determined by the overall acidity strength of the support. The reaction routes where NO2 moiety was engaged as an important intermediate involved moderate oxidation of methane, the rate of which could determine the overall activity. The reaction involving NO moiety was likely to be determined by the step of reduction of NO. Therefore, to enhance the SCR activity of solid superacid catalysts, reactions between appropriate couples of active NOy species and activated hydrocarbon intermediates should be realized by modification of the support acidity.

    Hongyuan WANG, Xiaolu JIANG, Ya HE, Huashi GUAN

    Four typical coastal sites (rocky shore, sandy shore, mud flat shore, and artificial harbor) at the Yellow Sea were chosen to investigate the spatial and seasonal variations in bacterial communities. This was accomplished by using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis of PCR amplified 16S rDNA fragments. Two kinds of tetrameric restriction enzymes, HhaI and MspI, were used in the experiment to depict the bacterial community diversity in different marine environments. It was found that the community compositions digested by the two enzymes separately were different. However, the results of bacterial community diversity derived from them were similar. The MDA analysis results of T-RFLP profiles coming from HhaI and MspI both exhibited a significant seasonal community shift for bacteria and a relatively low spatial variation among the four locations. With HhaI as the sample, the pair wise T-tests also revealed that variations were minor between each pair of marine environments, with R ranging from 0.198 to 0.349. However, the bacterial community structure in the mud flat site depicted a larger difference than each of the other three sites (R ranging from 0.282 to 0.349).

    Yu ZHAO, Shuxiao WANG, Gangcai CHEN, Fei WANG, Kristin AUNAN, Jiming HAO

    An investigation using recall questionnaires was conducted in winter and autumn 2006 to evaluate the time-activity patterns in Chongqing, China. The average time spent in seven microenvironments (MEs) including outdoors, transit, living room, bedroom, kitchen, classroom/office, and other indoors were found to be about 3.5, 1.1, 2.5, 9.7, 1.4, 4.2, and 1.7 h per day, respectively. According to the results of a nonparametric test, the sampling period and day of week were significant for the variation of the time spent in all MEs except for transit and outdoors. The time budget was analyzed using a general linear model (GLM), which exhibited significant variability by demographic factors such as gender, age, residence, education, and household income.

    Bing ZHANG, Jun BI, Beibei LIU

    Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play an important role in sustainable development not only for their significant contribution to China’s economy, but also for their big share of total discharged pollutants. Therefore, this research takes the enterprises in Suzhou Industrial Park, China as the case study to investigate the environmental management practices of SMEs, and identify drivers and barriers to engaging businesses in environmental management initiatives. It is shown that, as in other countries, SMEs are less active in adopting environmental management initiatives than larger companies. Legislation remains the key driver to engage SMEs in environmental management initiatives. Based on the analysis, policy recommendations are also presented.

    Serdar EYEBERENOV, Baijing CAO, Fengting LI

    Prior to independence, Central Asian countries were closely interconnected through the regional management incorporating water, energy, and food sectors. This approach, supported by the central government of Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), functioned effectively – meeting the needs of both upstream and downstream countries. However, after independence, Central Asian countries started prioritizing their own economic development policies without due account to regional concerns such as joint use of water resources, leading to instability. In this study, the case of Syrdarya basin was investigated to show how such strategies create tension in the region, since primary focus is given to national interests, without consideration for regional problems. To address this issue, an integrated approach to incorporating water, energy, and agriculture is needed. It is suggested that a single sector approach on water alone does not lead to stability, and a multi-sectoral approach is necessary to ensure sustainable development. Countries sharing benefits from the river have to be responsible for costs of operation and maintenance of the water facilities.

    Fangyue LI, Joachim BEHRENDT, Knut WICHMANN, Ralf OTTERPOHL

    In this study, a mathematical model was established to predict the formation of the soluble microbial product (SMP) in a submerged membrane bioreactor. The developed model was calibrated under the reference condition. Simulation results were in good agreement with the measured results under the reference condition. The calibrated model was then used in the scenario studies to evaluate the effect of three chosen operating parameters: hydraulic retention time (HRT), dissolved oxygen concentration, and sludge retention time (SRT). Simulation results revealed that the SMP dominated the soluble organic substances in the supernatant. The scenario studies also revealed that the HRT can be decreased to 1 h without deteriorating the effluent quality; dissolved oxygen concentration in the reactor can be kept at 2-3 mg/L to maintain the effluent quality, reduce the content of SMP, and minimize operating costs; the optimal SRT can be controlled to 10-15 d to achieve complete nitrification process, less membrane fouling potential, and acceptable organic removal efficiency.

    Longli BO, Taro URASE, Xiaochang WANG

    The biodegradation of selected pharmaceutical micropollutants, including two pharmaceuticals with argued biodegradation, was studied by a lab-scale membrane bioreactor. The reaction kinetics and affecting factors were also investigated in this paper. Clofibric acid (CA) with contradictive biodegradation reported was degraded almost completely at different hydraulic retention times (HRTs) after adaptation to microorganisms. The biodegradation of CA was disturbed at low pH operation, while the activity of microorganisms recovered again after pH adjustment to neutral condition. Ibuprofen (IBP) degraded under neutral and acidic conditions. Removals of IBP and CA were zero-order and first-order reactions under high and low initial concentrations, respectively. Carbamazepine and diclofenac were not degraded regardless of HRTs and pH.

    Juan WU, Jian ZHANG, Wenlin JIA, Huijun XIE, Bo ZHANG

    The effects of chemical oxygen demand (COD) concentration in the influent on nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions, together with the relationships between N2O and water quality parameters in free water surface constructed wetlands, were investigated with laboratory-scale systems. N2O emission and purification performance of wastewater were very strongly dependent on COD concentration in the influent, and the total N2O emission in the system with middle COD influent concentration was the least. The relationships between N2O and the chemical and physical water quality variables were studied by using principal component scores in multiple linear regression analysis to predict N2O flux. The multiple linear regression model against principal components indicated that different water parameters affected N2O flux with different COD concentrations in the influent, but nitrate nitrogen affected N2O flux in all systems.