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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(6), 602; doi:10.3390/ijerph13060602

Activated Persulfate Oxidation of Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) in Groundwater under Acidic Conditions

1
College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
2
Key Laboratory of Soil Environment and Pollution Remediation, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Rao Bhamidiammarri and Kiran Tota-Maharaj
Received: 5 May 2016 / Revised: 5 June 2016 / Accepted: 12 June 2016 / Published: 17 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Systems Engineering)
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Abstract

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is an emerging contaminant of concern due to its toxicity for human health and ecosystems. However, successful degradation of PFOA in aqueous solutions with a cost-effective method remains a challenge, especially for groundwater. In this study, the degradation of PFOA using activated persulfate under mild conditions was investigated. The impact of different factors on persulfate activity, including pH, temperature (25 °C–50 °C), persulfate dosage and reaction time, was evaluated under different experimental conditions. Contrary to the traditional alkaline-activated persulfate oxidation, it was found that PFOA can be effectively degraded using activated persulfate under acidic conditions, with the degradation kinetics following the pseudo-first-order decay model. Higher temperature, higher persulfate dosage and increased reaction time generally result in higher PFOA degradation efficiency. Experimental results show that a PFOA degradation efficiency of 89.9% can be achieved by activated persulfate at pH of 2.0, with the reaction temperature of 50 °C, molar ratio of PFOA to persulfate as 1:100, and a reaction time of 100 h. The corresponding defluorination ratio under these conditions was 23.9%, indicating that not all PFOA decomposed via fluorine removal. The electron paramagnetic resonance spectrometer analysis results indicate that both SO4• and •OH contribute to the decomposition of PFOA. It is proposed that PFOA degradation occurs via a decarboxylation reaction triggered by SO4•, followed by a HF elimination process aided by •OH, which produces one-CF2-unit-shortened perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (PFCAs, Cn−1F2n−1COOH). The decarboxylation and HF elimination processes would repeat and eventually lead to the complete mineralization all PFCAs. View Full-Text
Keywords: PFOA; activated persulfate; free radicals; defluorination PFOA; activated persulfate; free radicals; defluorination
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Yin, P.; Hu, Z.; Song, X.; Liu, J.; Lin, N. Activated Persulfate Oxidation of Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) in Groundwater under Acidic Conditions. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 602.

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