Water Center, The


Date of this Version



Kambhu, A., M. Gren, W. Tang, S. Comfort, and C.E. Harris. 2017. Remediating 1,4-dioxane-contaminated water with slow-release persulfate and zerovalent iron. Chemosphere 175: 170-177. doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2017.02.044


Copyright 2017 Elsevier. Used by permission.


1,4-dioxane is an emerging contaminant that was used as a corrosion inhibitor with chlorinated solvents. Metal-activated persulfate can degrade dioxane but reaction kinetics have typically been characterized by a rapid decrease during the first 30 min followed by either a slower decrease or no further change (i.e., plateau). Our objective was to identify the factors responsible for this plateau and then determine if slow-release formulations of sodium persulfate and Fe0 could provide a more sustainable degradation treatment. We accomplished this by conducting batch experiments where Fe0-activated persulfate was used to treat dioxane. Treatment variables included the timing at which the dioxane was added to the Fe0-persulfate reaction (T = 0 and 30 min) and including various products of the Fe0-persulfate reaction at T = 0 min (Fe2+, Fe3+, SO42-). Results showed that when dioxane was spiked into the reaction at 30 min, no degradation occurred; this is in stark contrast to the 60% decrease observed when added at T = 0 min. Adding Fe2+ at the onset (T = 0 min) also severely halted the reaction and caused a plateau. This indicates that excess ferrous iron produced from the Fe0-persulfate reaction scavenges sulfate radicals and prevents further dioxane degradation. By limiting the release of Fe0 in a slow-release wax formulation, degradation plateaus were avoided and 100% removal of dioxane observed. By using 14C-labeled dioxane, we show that ~40% of the dioxane carbon is mineralized within 6 d. These data support the use of slow-release persulfate and zerovalent iron to treat dioxane-contaminated water.