Integrated catalytic wet air oxidation and aerobic biological treatment in a municipal WWTP of a high-strength o-cresol wastewater

María Eugenia Suarez-Ojeda, Albert Guisasola, Juan A. Baeza, Azael Fabregat, Frank Stüber, Agustí Fortuny, Josep Font, Julián Carrera

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50 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the feasibility of coupling a Catalytic Wet Air Oxidation (CWAO), with activated carbon (AC) as catalyst, and an aerobic biological treatment to treat a high-strength o-cresol wastewater. Two goals are pursued: (a) To determine the effect of the main AC/CWAO intermediates on the activated sludge of a municipal WasteWater Treatment Plant (WWTP) and (b) To demonstrate the feasibility of coupling the AC/CWAO effluent as a part of the influent of a municipal WWTP. In a previous study, a high-strength o-cresol wastewater was treated by AC/CWAO aiming to establish the distribution of intermediates and the biodegradability enhancement. In this work, the biodegradability, toxicity and inhibition of the most relevant intermediates detected in the AC/CWAO effluent were determined by respirometry. Also, the results of a pilot scale municipal WWTP study for an integrated AC/CWAO-aerobic biological treatment of this effluent are presented. The biodegradation parameters (i.e. maximum oxygen uptake rate and oxygen consumption) of main AC/CWAO intermediates allowed the classification of the intermediates into readily biodegradable, inert or toxic/inhibitory compounds. This detailed study, allowed to understand the biodegradability enhancement exhibited by an AC/CWAO effluent and to achieve a successful strategy for coupling the AC/CWAO step with an aerobic biological treatment for a high-strength o-cresol wastewater. Using 30%, as COD, of AC/CWAO effluent in the inlet to the pilot scale WWTP, the integrated AC/CWAO-biological treatment achieved a 98% of total COD removal and, particularly, a 91% of AC/CWAO effluent COD removal without any undesirable effect on the biomass. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2096-2105
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2007


  • Biological treatment
  • Catalytic wet air oxidation
  • Inhibition and toxicity
  • Respirometry
  • Substituted phenols


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