Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology, Vol.82, No.2, 121-134, 2007
Removing pharmaceuticals and endocrine-disrupting compounds from wastewater by photocatalysis
Widespread concerns continue to be raised about the increasing presence of emerging contaminants in the environment. Such compounds include a wide range of persistent organic chemicals, including pharmaceuticals and endocrine-disrupting compounds whose effects are poorly known, often because they have only begun to enter the environment and are showing up in wastewater treatment plants. The occurrence and behavior of these compounds in wastewater are key issues with regard to water reclamation and reuse. Treatment plants are now faced with the challenge of removing the compounds from their effluent before they enter natural, waterways. In this regard, photocatalysis is a promising technology for wastewater treatment that offers many advantages over conventional and some advanced treatment options. The application of photocatalysis for the removal of pharmaceuticals and endocrine-disrupting compounds for wastewater is comprehensively surveyed in this paper. This treatment technology is not intended to replace conventional systems but to supplement for higher-quality effluent. The assessment places emphasis on the process fundamentals, advantages, and disadvantages of the technology. It also focuses on the current limitations and future research needs.