Application of advanced oxidation and catalytic ozonation in removing antibiotics from water

The presence of emerging pollutants (chemicals such as pesticides, residual pharmaceuticals and personal care products) in surface water bodies is becoming a serious concern not only for their environmental impact, but also for their potentially serious adverse effects on human health. Antibiotics are important class of emerging pollutants in nature. Presence of antibiotics in nature can lead to development of antibiotics resistant strains of bacteria. This is an important health concern. Innovative water treatment technologies are under investigation to determine their potential application in current drinking water and wastewater treatment antibiotics in water.

In order to reduce the concentrations of antibiotics in water, reaction with ozone (O3) assisted by solid catalysts is considered a potentially viable process. Ozone is a strong oxidizing agent that can be produced from oxygen using available ozone generators. Since ozone is highly unstable in water, it is necessary to assess the efficiency of different catalysts that increase ozone stability and selectivity in its reaction with antibiotics in water.

The purpose of the present project is to compare the efficiency of ozonation in the presence of solid catalysts and advanced oxidation (O3/H2O2) in terms of target compound removal and ozone consumption. A semi-continuous reaction system is currently used in our laboratory to evaluate catalyst effectiveness and to study effects of operating parameters.

Different stages of the experimental work involve the following steps:
• Comparing the levels of ozone consumption and antibiotic removal at different catalyst doses
• Performing equilibrium adsorption experiments to establish the effects of compound adsorption on the catalysts
• Determining time required for maximum antibiotic removal based on kinetic parameters

The research project involves different scientific activities. The student will work with a team of researchers in performing a variety of technical tasks in Catalytic Ozonation Laboratory. These activities include:

• preparation of chemical mixtures of model-compound antibiotics in water
• operation of semi-continuous catalytic ozonation reactor
• preparation of HPLC calibration curves for the pollutant
• analysis of samples of reaction products
• collection and compilation of the research data
• preparation of technical reports
• collaboration in developing reaction kinetics
• collaboration in performing preliminary feasibility study

The student will work in a team environment and will receive supervision and training from the supervisor, post doctoral fellows, graduate students (both PhD and MSc) and experienced undergraduate project students.

Faculty Supervisor:

Jafar Soltan


Amit Anand



Engineering - chemical / biological



University of Saskatchewan



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