Retention of organics and degradation of micropollutants in municipal wastewater using impregnated ceramics

Lev Tsapovsky, Michal Simhon, Vincenzo Roberto Calderone, Gadi Rothenberg, Vitaly Gitis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Abstract: Pesticides, personal care products, industrial chemicals often pollute surface- and groundwater sources. With trace concentrations and low molecular weights, these micropollutants (MPs) easily penetrate through treatment systems and impose a real health threat on drinking water consumers. The absence of a dedicated MP-retaining treatment technology at water treatment plants results in a constant consumption of MP-contaminated water. Advanced oxidation processes, and in particular the Fenton reaction, can successfully degrade MPs if other, larger, fractions of organics are retained. Here, we suggest a novel combined two-stage retention–degradation approach. Ceramic membranes retain large organics such as bovine serum albumin (BSA). Fenton processes disintegrate nonretained MPs such as methylene blue (MB) and bisphenol A (BPA) that penetrate through the membrane. The efficiency of the suggested approach is high. Single-layered ultrafiltration membrane retains more than 96% BSA and degrades 40–50% of MB and BPA. The degree of degradation depends on both the impregnated metal oxide and the concentration of hydrogen peroxide. Vanadium-based catalysts retain more than 90% MPs but leach into permeate. Ferric oxides were the only stable catalysts that performed better in membranes than when impregnated on α-Al2O3 pellets. A combined retention–degradation can be optimized to result in superior degree of retention. Catalytic ceramic membranes can retain large organic molecules and decompose MPs simultaneously. Three parameters affect the process efficiency: the dynamics of the influent fluid, the catalyst dose and the contact time. Graphic abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)689-700
Number of pages12
JournalClean Technologies and Environmental Policy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • Environment
  • Heterogeneous catalysis
  • Sustainability
  • Wastewater treatment plant
  • α-AlO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Retention of organics and degradation of micropollutants in municipal wastewater using impregnated ceramics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this