Fate and Behavior of Bi2O3-BiVO4 in Wastewater Treatment Plant Under an Aerobic System

  • D. N. Majotena
  • L. C. Mahlalela
  • D. M. Andala
  • L. N. DlaminiEmail author


The use of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) increases concerns relating to their fate, behavior, and toxicity due to their increased exposure to the environment. These ENMs end up in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), and the bacteria in these systems are sensitive to compounds such as heavy metals, which reduces the functionality of the WWTP. In this work, the fate and behavior of Bi2O3-BiVO4 in a WWTP using the OECD 303A guideline was studied. The Bi2O3-BiVO4 NPs were synthesized through a hydrothermal and impregnation method. X-ray diffraction showed monoclinic phases of both Bi2O3 and BiVO4 NPs. The effect of Bi2O3-BiVO4 NPs was monitored using chemical oxygen demand (COD) and 5-day biological oxygen demand (BOD5). The COD and BOD5 for the sludge retention time where the NPs were added was > 70%. This showed that the NPs had no effect on the functionality of the treatment processes as it was further affirmed by the TPC measurements. Inductively coupled plasma–optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) showed that the fate of the NPs was through the activated sludge than the effluent, whereby 90% of Bi and V were absorbed in the activated sludge and 10% in the effluent. The results indicate that the NPs have the potential to permeate through the environment segments through the wastewater sludge compared to the effluent. XRD analysis of the test sludge showed that the crystal phases of the heterojunction remained unchanged, and this could ascertain that the treatment conditions did not transform the NPs into toxic forms.


Activated sludge Fate Functionality Nanoparticles Bi2O3-BiVO4 


Funding Information

This work was financially supported by the University of Johannesburg: Science Faculty, National Research Foundation (TTK 180424323810), Water Research Commission (K5/2503/3), TESP ESKOM, the Centre for Nanomaterials Science Research and National Nanoscience Postgraduate Teaching and Training Platform.

Supplementary material

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied ChemistryUniversity of Johannesburg, Doornfontein CampusJohannesburgSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryMultimedia University of KenyaNairobiKenya

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