Abatement of chlorobenzenes in aqueous phase by persulfate activated by alkali enhanced by surfactant addition

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Sites polluted by dense non-aqueous phases (DNAPLs) constitute an environmental concern. In situ chemical oxidation (ISCO) application is limited since oxidation often occurs in the aqueous phase and contaminants are usually hydrophobic. In this work, ISCO enhanced by the surfactant addition (S–ISCO) was studied for a complex liquid mixture of chlorinated organic compounds (COCs) using persulfate (PS) activated by alkali (PSA) as oxidant and Emulse-3® as a commercial non-ionic surfactant. The reaction between E3 and PSA was investigated in the absence and presence of solubilized COCs in the following concentration ranges: COCs 1.2–50 mM, PS 84–336 mM, NaOH:PS molar ratio of 2, and surfactant concentration 1–10 g⋅L− 1. In the experiments carried out in the absence of COCs, the unproductive consumption of PS was studied. The higher the surfactant concentration, the lower the ratio PS consumed to the initial surfactant concentration due to more complex micelle structures hindering the oxidation of surfactant molecules. This hindering effect was also noticed in the oxidation of solubilized COCs. The reduction of chlorobenzenes by PSA was negligible at surfactant concentrations above 2.5 g⋅L− 1, independently of the COCs concentration solubilized. Instead, a surfactant concentration of about 1 and PS concentration of 168 mM yielded a significant decrease in the time required to abate a mass of DNAPL, compared with an ISCO process, with a bearable increase in the unproductive consumption of PS
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