An evaluation of a pilot-scale nonthermal plasma advanced oxidation process for trace organic compound degradation

Document Type



This study evaluated a pilot-scale nonthermal plasma (NTP) advanced oxidation process (AOP) for the degradation of trace organic compounds such as pharmaceuticals and potential endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs). The degradation of seven indicator compounds was monitored in tertiary-treated wastewater and spiked surface water to evaluate the effects of differing water qualities on process efficiency. The tests were also conducted in batch and single-pass modes to examine contaminant degradation rates and the remediation capabilities of the technology, respectively. Values for electrical energy per order (EEO) of magnitude degradation ranged from 3-log for easily degraded compounds (e.g., carbamazepine) in surface water to 14 kWh/m3-log for more recalcitrant compounds (e.g., meprobamate) in wastewater. Changes in the bulk organic matter based on UV254 absorbance and excitation-emission matrices (EEM) were also monitored and correlated to contaminant degradation. These results indicate that NTP may be a viable alternative to more common AOPs due to its comparable energy requirements for contaminant degradation and its ability to operate without any additional feed chemicals.


Advanced oxidation process (AOP); Endocrine disrupting chemicals in water – Deterioration; Endocrine disrupting compound (EDC); Nonthermal plasma (NTP); Organic water pollutants – Deterioration; Pharmaceutical; Sewage – Treatment; Trace organic compound; Water quality


Environmental Engineering | Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Sciences | Natural Resources and Conservation | Water Resource Management


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Publisher Citation

Daniel Gerrity, Benjamin D. Stanford, Rebecca A. Trenholm, Shane A. Snyder, An evaluation of a pilot-scale nonthermal plasma advanced oxidation process for trace organic compound degradation, Water Research, Volume 44, Issue 2, January 2010, Pages 493-504, ISSN 0043-1354, 10.1016/j.watres.2009.09.029.

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