Drinking Water, Sewage and Rivers

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Hydrogen Peroxide

It is applied directly in the springs over lakes or dams for control by microalgae inactivation, with the purpose of preventing the transmission of taste and odor to the drinking water, as well as the release of toxins during treatment in the station.
In the water treatment stations, it is applied in the step of pre-oxidation to facilitate the removal of dissolved and in suspension impurities, reducing the load of chlorine to be applied in the treatment.
In the sewer collection networks and treatment stations, the hydrogen peroxide is used to prevent, at the source, the formation of offensive sulfidric gas (H2S) odors. It can also be used in the depuration of rivers impacted by the dumping of sewage to prevent such odors.

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Drinking Water Treatment

Advantages of the use of Hydrogen Peroxide in the Treatment of Drinking Water 
  • Improvement of taste and odor of water  Reduction of chlorine load in water
  • Reduction in the formation of trihalomethanes
  • Reduction in production cost 
Where to Apply Hydrogen Peroxide 
  • Pre-oxidation and algae control in water catchment reservoirs (direct addition) Pre-oxidation in Water Treatment Stations (direct addition and/or combined with ferrous salt —  Fenton System)
  • Disinfection in Water Treatment Stations (combined with UV or ozone)
In drinking water treatment, hydrogen peroxide can be employed as pre-oxidizer, by the means of simple and direct addition, combined in the sequence of the simplified or conventional treatment with the conventional coagulants, flocculants and neutralizers. Also, it can be employed activated with Fe2+ ions (Fenton System), ultraviolet radiation or with ozone, in the so called advanced oxidation processes.
The oxidant and non-contaminant capacity of hydrogen peroxide has acknowledged usefulness in the pre-oxidation for algae control; precipitation of iron and manganese; and for oxidation of many kinds of dissolved substances, both organic and inorganic.
Hydrogen peroxide doesn’t contain heavy metals in its composition.
Benefits Around the World
The use of special and stabilized solutions of hydrogen peroxide in the treatment of drinking water in large scale is relatively recent in the whole world – since the year 2000. Countries like Canada, USA, France and Holland apply them for removal micro-contaminants and for disinfection.
In Brazil, more than 20 million people are benefited daily by consuming drinking water from stations the apply hydrogen peroxide in pre-oxidation, algae control and removal of surfactants with the Fenton System.
Relevant Characteristics of Hydrogen Peroxide 
Powerful oxidant, non-contaminant, not persistent in the environment.
Hydrogen Peroxide is considered a clean chemical product for not leaving persistent elements and residues in the environment after its use.
This characteristics comes from the fact that its continually subjected to the spontaneous reaction of self-decomposition: 
H2O2 → H2O + ½ O2
Releasing for the environment only water and oxygen as final residues.
Compared with other oxidants for treatment of drinking water, it is verified that hydrogen peroxide is free of residual contaminants, besides promoting reduction of trihalomethanes levels and not oxidizing bromide to bromate.

General Product Table for Treatment of Water and Effluents

Application AreaTreatment
Hydrogen PeroxidePeracetic Acid
Odor ControlIn transportationx
In sludge dehydration
Oxygen sourcex
Control of filamentous bacteriax
Raw sewagex
Secondary wastewaterx
AldehydesChemical, pharmaceuticalx
Chlorine, AOXChemical, cellulose, textilex
CyanideGalvanic, mining, steelx
DetergentsChemical, textile, laundryxx
DyesChemical, paper, textilexx
MercaptansChemical, petrochemical
NitritesTreatment of metals
PhenolsChemical, petrochemical
SulfidesChemical, petrochemical, tanneriesxx
ThiosulphatesChemical, petrochemicalxx
Gaseous Effluents
SulfidesTanneries, oil refinementx
NOxNitric acid, picklingx
OdorTallow extractionxx
SOxChemical, petrochemicalx
Disinfection and Slime Treatment
Water CircuitsGeneralx
Process WaterFood, exchange resinsxx
Irrigation waterAgriculturexx
Recreational waterSwimming poolsx
Drinking waterMunicipal (algae, Fe, Mn)x

Removal of Organic Matter

Organic matter can be removed bu simple and/ or advanced oxidation, depending on the complexity of the contaminant, generating carbon dioxide and water, as in the following reaction:
CxHyOz+ w (H2O2 or HO-) → a CO2 + b H2

Treatment of Wastewaters Containing Arsenic

Effluents containing arsenic can be detoxified using hydrogen peroxide and iron sulphate.
The reactions occur as following: 
HAsO2 + H2O2  H3AsO4 

2 Fe2+ + H2O2 + 2 H+ 
 2 Fe3+ + 2 H2O
The need of an oxidization step arises from the fact that As V compounds are much more insoluble than those of As III.
Arsenic can be efficiently removed from aqueous solutions by precipitation of ferric arsenate slimes in open agitated tanks.
Fe3+ + H3AsO4  FeAsO4 (s) + 3 H+
Or, if there isn't enough Fe3+:
3 Fe2+ + 2 H3AsO4 → Fe3(AsO4)2 (s) + 6 H+
Alternatevelly or additionally, the additions of Ca2+ ions (as in the addition slaked lime) to the wasterwater being treated will propitiate the occurrence of the reaction of formation of Calcium arsenate, also contributing to the removal of this metal:
3 Ca2+ + 2 H3AsO4  Ca3(AsO4)2 (s) + 6 H+ 

Treatment of Wastewaters Containing Bromate

Reduction of Bromate:
In the water treatment for human consumption, the hydrogen peroxide, besides not oxidizing bromide to the toxic form bromate, is also capable of reversing through reduction the bromate that might eventually have been formed by other pre-oxidizers back to the non-toxic form of bromide, according to the following reaction: 
BrO3- + 3 H2O2 → Br- + 3 H2O + 3 O2 

Treatment of Wastewaters Containing Chlorinated Products

Hypochlorites and other Chlorinated Products

Wastewaters or purges of treated waters with chlorine or hypochlorite need to be treated before dumping, under the risk of  exceeding the low limit of active chlorine in waters of rivers of class 1 and 2 (0,01 mg/L).
Os agentes redutores convencionalmente utilizados na eliminação do cloro são compostos de enxofre do tipo bissulfito e tiossulfato. O dificilmente evitável excesso desses compostos no tratamento apresenta como desvantagem um aumento da DQO do efluente e deve, portanto, ser eliminado antes do descarte final do efluente. 
The reaction of these compounds with chlorine produces sulphates as byproducts, causing also an increase in the salinity of the wastewater. 

Reduction with Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is an alternative that presents the advantage of not generating undesirable byproducts, because it decomposes in water and oxygen. 
Hydrogen Peroxide reacts quickly with chlorine/hypochlorite, as in the following reaction: 
ClO- + H2O2 → Cl- + H2O + O2
As this reaction releases gaseous oxygen, the possibility of a pressure increase must be considered in closed systems. 
The hydrogen peroxide action over chloramines is slow at ambient temperature, and may be accelerated in the presence of an alkali at 50ºC. 
R-NHCl + H2O2 + OH- → R-NH2 + Cl- + H2O + O2 

Treatment of Wastewaters Containing Iron

Process solutions and wastewaters are frequently contaminated with iron ions. Even tough the removal of this contaminant by precipitation is simple and well-known; it is convenient to assure that all the dissolved iron is in the 3+ oxidizing state, so that the precipitation is efficient from a pH starting on 3.5, with low base consumption.
The removal of iron by oxidation and precipitation with hydrogen peroxide is very fast, according to the following equation: 
Fe2+ + ½ H2O2 + 2 OH-  Fe(OH)(s) 

Treatment of Wastewaters Containing Manganese

Process solutions and wastewaters from metallurgical processes are frequently contaminated with manganese ions.
The removal is eased by oxidizing the metal from the 2+ state to the 4+ state, which allows to reach, in a pH up to 9, a high level of precipitation. The same efficiency of hydroxide precipitation would only be possible with pH 10 or more.
The reaction occurs as following:
Mn2+ + H2O2 + 2 OH- → MnO2 (s) + 2 H2O 

Treatment of Wastewaters Containing Nitrite

Wastewaters containing nitrite can be treated with hydrogen peroxide, oxidizing it to nitrate, according to the following reaction:

NO2- + H2O2 → NO3- + H2O 

Treatment of Wastewaters Containing Selenium

Waters and wastewaters containing selenium are efficiently treated with hydrogen peroxide and Calcium hydroxide (slaked lime), leading to precipitation of calcium selenate, according to the following reaction:
Ca2+ + SeO32- + H2O2 → CaSeO4(s) + H2O

Alternatively or additionally, the possibility of formation of precipitates of zinc and manganese selenates should be considered if the effluents treated with H2O2 contain these metals.

Treatment of Wastewaters Containing Sulfides

The generation of offensive odors in wastewaters, domestic sewage and other installations of water treatment is mainly due to the action of reductive bacteria, which act anaerobically over sulfates present in the medium. In oil refineries and terminals, the waters of production and processes are contaminated due to the natural existence of sulfides in oil.
Problems caused by sulfides:
The odor of rotten eggs of sulfides is well known and is perceptible even in concentrations below 0.3 ppm. In elevated concentrations, the sulfidric gas inhibits the olfactory system, eliminating a factor that would serve as alarm in a danger situation.
Sulfides constitute an environmental threat for being poisonous to aquatic life in general.
The sulfidric gas is equally toxic and, in concentrations over 1000 ppm in the air, causes death in a few minutes. Eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches and fatigue sensation are symptoms of an exposition to concentrations over 5 ppm.
Due to its low solubility and elevated volatility, the danger represented by the sulfidric gas is of the same order of the cyanide gas.
The presence of sulfidric gas in the working environment in tanneries depends mainly of the processing step that the hides go through and air circulation inside the factory. 
It also corrodes piping, pumps and installations, even concrete parts.
Unfavorable action over biological treatment 
In elevated concentrations, sulfides are toxic to the biological treatment, reducing the efficiency of the process and inhibiting microbial activity. They also favor the growing of filamentous bacteria in the processes of treatment by activated sludge. 
To avoid disturbances of the active biomass, sulfide concentration must not be superior to 25 mg/l, and should be kept constant to avoid shocks that hamper the biological activity in the processes.
Oxidation of sulfides by hydrogen peroxide: 
Our hydrogen peroxide products are easily handled and their application doesn’t involve large increases in cost. They provide partial oxidizing of sulfides to intermediate compounds that do not exhale bad smell, and that can be treated by aeration, efficiently and at low cost.
Sulfides are formed as follows:

H+ + HS- ↔ H2S (Meio neutro ou ácido) 
 H+ + S2- (Meio básico)
In a basic medium, there are species of low corrosive power in equilibrium: S2- and HS-, with a low concentration of H2S (less than 1% of dissolved sulfur). 
However, in this pH range, nor domestic sewage nor industrial effluents could be dumped over rivers. They are dumped with neutral pH, which is when S2- and HS- ions are converted into the volatile, toxic and corrosive H2S.
H2S + H2O2  S(s) + 2 H2O
Where the biggest part of sulfide is transformed into elemental sulfur. The rest is constituted of different soluble compounds of sulfur, and according to their structure might be oxidized later. 
The reaction is relatively slow in acid medium, but can be catalyzed through ions of transition metals. After addition of dissolved iron (such as iron (III) sulfate), the reaction completes in few minutes, even at room temperature.
In reactions in alkaline medium, the oxidation occurs according to the following equation:
S2- + 4 H2O2  SO42- + 4 H2O
In that case, the reaction is considered faster than in acid medium. At ambient temperature it concludes itself in few minutes, even without catalystaddition. To avoid byproducts, the proportion of hydrogen peroxide that must be used should be above the stoichiometric.
There are mainly four practical and economically viable ways to oxidize the sulfides with our products:
  • Complete Oxidation
  • Preventive Oxidation 
  • Auxiliary Oxidation 
  • Polishing
Complete Oxidation
The complete oxidation of sulfides to sulfates by hydrogen peroxide is used preferably by factories with a great wastewater with sulfides flow and small area for treatment, or by those who are still constructing their wastewater treatment.
It can also be used in case of accidental spill, momentary inoperability of the treatment station or emergency cases.
The speed of implanting the dosage system, the operational easiness and reaction effectiveness in a very short time are inherent characteristics of the hydrogen peroxide.
Preventive Oxidation
When used as a preventive measure to the development of sulfides, hydrogen peroxide is primarily used as source of oxygen.
H2O2 → H2O + ½ O2
The decomposition level to oxygen will depend of the presence of contaminants in the wastewater, particularly transition metals. The concentration of hydrogen peroxide to keep the aerobic conditions is lower than those necessary of molecular oxygen.
Auxiliary Oxidation
To the companies that already oxidize its wastewaters by aeration or oxygen injection, the hydrogen peroxide is a valuable partner, since the use in large enough amounts for a partial oxidation of the wastewater eliminates the bad smell immediately and accelerates the operation of the subsequent aeration, guaranteeing an increase in efficiency of the process with energy economy.
The polishing is an adequation of the wastewater to the conditions required by the environmental control organs. In case of the wastewater still having sulfide content above the allowed emission levels, it can be adequated by adding a small dosage of hydrogen peroxide.
In some countries, for the disposal of sewage in rivers and the sea, where is foreseen use for recreation of primary contact, it is mandatory by law to disinfect it to eliminate the thermo tolerant coliforms. For this application, the oxidizing action of the hydrogen peroxide works as a first step of disinfection, reducing the peracetic acid necessary for complete elimination of pathogenic microorganisms.

Treatment of Wastewaters Containing Sulfites

Hydrogen peroxide can be used in sulfite oxidation, generating water and sulphate ions according to the following reaction: 
SO32- + H2O2 → SO42- + H2