Enhanced Degradation of Sulfamethoxazole (SMX) in Toilet Wastewater by Photo-Fenton Reactive Membrane Filtration

Shaobin Sun, Hong Yao*, Xinyang Li, Shihai Deng, Shenlong Zhao, Wen Zhang
Nanomaterials 10(1), 180, (2020)


Pharmaceutical residuals are increasingly detected in natural waters, which made great threat to the health of the public. This study evaluated the utility of the photo-Fenton ceramic membrane filtration toward the removal and degradation of sulfamethoxazole (SMX) as a model recalcitrant micropollutant. The photo-Fenton catalyst Goethite (α-FeOOH) was coated on planar ceramic membranes as we reported previously. The removal of SMX in both simulated and real toilet wastewater were assessed by filtering the feed solutions with/without H2O2 and UV irradiation. The SMX degradation rate reached 87% and 92% respectively in the presence of UV/H2O2 for the original toilet wastewater (0.8 ± 0.05 ppb) and toilet wastewater with a spiked SMX concentration of 100 ppb. The mineralization and degradation by-products were both assessed under different degradation conditions to achieve deeper insight into the degradation mechanisms during this photo-Fenton reactive membrane filtration. Results showed that a negligible removal rate (e.g., 3%) of SMX was obtained when only filtering the feed solution through uncoated or catalyst-coated membranes. However, the removal rates of SMX were significantly increased to 67% (no H2O2) and 90% (with H2O2) under UV irradiation, respectively, confirming that photo-Fenton reactions played the key role in the degradation/mineralization process. The highest apparent quantum yield (AQY) reached up to approximately 27% when the H2O2 was 10 mmol·L−1 and UV254 intensity was 100 μW·cm−2. This study lays the groundwork for reactive membrane filtration to tackle the issues from micropollution.