Oxidative and photochemical processes for the removal of galaxolide and tonalide from wastewater.
Synthetic musks have been reported in wastewaters at concentrations as high as tens of micrograms per litre. The two most significant polycyclic musk fragrance compounds are 1,3,4,6,7,8-hexahydro-4,6,6,7,8,8-hexamethylcyclopenta(g)-2-benzopyran (HHCB, trade name galaxolide®) and 7-acetyl-1,1,3,4,4,6-hexamethyltetrahydronaphthalene (AHTN, trade name tonalide®). We report the result of several irradiation and advanced oxidation processes carried out on samples of the effluent of a wastewater treatment plant located in Alcalá de Henares, Madrid. Wastewater samples were pre-ozonated and spiked with 500 ng/L of tonalide or galaxolide in order to obtain final concentrations in the same order as the raw effluent. The treatments assayed were ozonation with and without the addition of hydrogen peroxide (O?, O?/H?O?), ultraviolet (254 nm low pressure mercury lamp) and xenon-arc visible light irradiation alone and in combination with ozone (UV, O?/UV, Xe, O?/Xe) and visible light photocatalytic oxidation using a Ce-doped titanium dioxide photocatalyst performed under continuous oxygen or ozone gas bubbling (O?/Xe/Ce-TiO?, O?/Xe/Ce-TiO?). In all cases, samples taken at different contact times up to 15 min were analyzed. An analytical method based on stir bar sorptive extraction (SBSE), followed by comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (SBSE-GC × GC-TOF-MS), was used for the automatic searching and evaluation of the synthetic musks and other nonpolar or semipolar contaminants in the wastewater samples. In all cases tonalide was more easily removed than galaxolide. The best results for the latter (more than 75% removal after 5 min on stream) were obtained from ozonation (O?) and visible light photocatalytic ozonation (O?/Xe/Ce-TiO?). A significant removal of both pollutants (?60% after 15 min) was also obtained during visible light photocatalysis (O?/Xe/Ce-TiO?). UV radiation was able to deplete tonalide (+90%) after 15 min but only reduced the concentration of galaxolide to about half of its initial concentration. The toxicity of treated samples decreased for O?/UV and O?/Ce-TiO?, but increased during irradiation processes UV, Xe and Xe/Ce-TiO?. Ozone treatments tend to decrease toxicity up to a certain dosage, from which point the presence of toxic transformation products has adverse effects on aquatic microorganisms.