The present work discusses the efficiency of the electrodialytic (ED) process to remove emerging organic contaminants (EOCs) from effluent. The ED process was carried out in a cell of two-compartments (2 C-cell) with effluent in either the anode or cathode compartment, separated from the electrolyte compartment through an anion or a cation exchange membrane (AEM and CEM, respectively). As effluent destination might be soil irrigation, and having in mind the nutrient recycling, phosphorus was also monitored in the process. The ED removals showed to be dependent of EOCs characteristics and cell design. Removals were higher when using an AEM (60–72%) than a CEM (8–63%), except for caffeine when the effluent was placed in the cathode, that did not show any removal. When using an AEM with the effluent placed in the anode compartment, all the EOCs (including caffeine) were removed between 57–72%, mainly through electrodegradation phenomena. Regarding phosphorus, a polarity switch may be done to a 2 C-cell with a AEM, depending on the effluent final use. This technology is still in its first steps and, in both cases, further optimization of ED parameters is needed. Still, this technological innovation and cross-cutting research envisages the promotion of economic, social and environmental benefits.
- 2-compartments cell
- Cell design
- ED process
- Pharmaceuticals and personal care products
- Phosphorus recovery