Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 4381–4392 | Cite as

Evaluation of the UV/H2O2 system for treating natural water with a mixture of anthracene and benzo[a]pyrene at ultra-trace levels

  • Ainhoa Rubio-ClementeEmail author
  • Edwin Chica
  • Gustavo Peñuela
Advanced Oxidation Technologies: State-of-the-Art in Ibero-American Countries


The presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, such as anthracene (AN) and benzo[a]pyrene (BaP), in water has become a problem of great concern due to the detrimental health effects caused to humans and living beings. In this work, the efficiency of the UV/H2O2 system for degrading the target compounds at ultra-trace levels in surface water has been evaluated. For this purpose, a previous optimization step using a face-centered central composite experimental design has been conducted, considering the effect of the UV-C irradiance and the initial concentration of H2O2. It was evidenced that under optimal operating conditions (11 mg L−1 H2O2 and 0.63 mW cm−2 irradiance), AN and BaP removal percentages were higher than 99.8%. Additionally, 69.3% of the organic matter, in terms of total organic carbon, was mineralized without the production of transformation by-products more harmful than the parent compounds. These findings demonstrate the oxidation capacity of the examined system in a natural matrix for degrading micropollutants that cannot be converted through conventional treatment processes. Consequently, new horizons are opened for the effective use of the UV/H2O2 system for drinking water production, providing the accomplishment of other regulated parameters related to water quality.


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon Anthracene Benzo[a]pyrene Advanced oxidation process UV/H2O2 system Water treatment Experimental design Degradation by-product 


Funding information

The authors would like to thank the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the Colombian Administrative Department of Science Technology and Innovation (COLCIENCIAS), and the Sustainability Fund of the Vice-rectory of Research at the University of Antioquia for funding this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ainhoa Rubio-Clemente
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Edwin Chica
    • 4
  • Gustavo Peñuela
    • 2
  1. 1.Facultad de Ciencias de la SaludUniversidad Católica de Murcia UCAMMurciaSpain
  2. 2.Grupo GDCON, Facultad de Ingeniería, Sede de Investigaciones Universitarias (SIU)Universidad de Antioquia UdeAMedellínColombia
  3. 3.Facultad de IngenieríaTecnológico de Antioquia–Institución Universitaria TdeAMedellínColombia
  4. 4.Departamento de Ingeniería Mecánica, Facultad de IngenieríaUniversidad de Antioquia UdeAMedellínColombia

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