ADVANCED OXIDATION TECHNOLOGIES: STATE-OF-THE-ART IN IBERO-AMERICAN
Evaluation of the UV/H
system for treating natural water
with a mixture of anthracene and benzo[a]pyrene at ultra-trace levels
Received: 1 December 2017 /Accepted: 24 May 2018
Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018
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
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, consid-
ering the effect of the UV-C irradiance and the initial concentration of H
. It was evidenced that under optimal operating
conditions (11 mg L
and 0.63 mW cm
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 transfor-
mation by-products more harmful than the parent compounds. These findings demonstrate the oxidation capacity of the exam-
ined 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/H
system for drinking water production, providing the
accomplishment of other regulated parameters related to water quality.
Keywords Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon
Advanced oxidation process
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a group of com-
pounds mainly made up of carbon and hydrogen assembled in
two or more stable fused benzene rings (Rubio-Clemente et al.
2014; Abdel-Shafy and Mansour 2016) that are ubiquitous
environmental pollutants generated mainly from incomplete
combustion of organic materials. These compounds have been
found in natural and waste water in the range of micrograms
per liter and nanograms per liter (Busetti et al. 2006; Shemer
and Linden 2007; Sanches et al. 2011; Sarria-Villa et al.
2016). Nevertheless, despite these low concentrations, the
main concern related to the presence of PAHs in water comes
from the health risk caused to both humans and living beings,
since PAHs are suspected to be endocrine disrupters and can
suppress the immune system, being living things more likely
to suffer from different illnesses. Additionally, some PAHs are
well known as carcinogens, mutagens, and teratogens, posing
a serious threat to the health and the well-being of humans
(Abdel-Shafy and Mansour 2016). Moreover, PAHs can pro-
duce by-products more toxic that the parent compound
(Rubio-Clemente et al. 2014). Especially, anthracene (AN)
and benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) are characterized by the acute pho-
totoxicity of the former one and the carcinogenic and muta-
genic potential of the latter one (Rubio-Clemente et al. 2014).
Responsible editor: Vítor Pais Vilar
* Ainhoa Rubio-Clemente
Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad Católica de Murcia
UCAM, Avenida de los Jerónimos, s/n, Murcia, Spain
Grupo GDCON, Facultad de Ingeniería, Sede de Investigaciones
Universitarias (SIU), Universidad de Antioquia UdeA, Calle 70, No.
52-51, Medellín, Colombia
Facultad de Ingeniería, Tecnológico de Antioquia–Institución
Universitaria TdeA, Calle 78b, No. 72A-220, Medellín, Colombia
Departamento de Ingeniería Mecánica, Facultad de Ingeniería,
Universidad de Antioquia UdeA, Calle 70, No. 52-51,
Environmental Science and Pollution Research