Diclofenac (DCF) has been widely found in sewage treatment plants and environmental water bodies, and has attracted worldwide attention. In this paper, the photocatalytic degradation of DCF was investigated using a laboratory-scale simulated solar experimental device. This study focused on exploring the effects of the actual secondary effluent from sewage treatment plants (SE-A and SE-B) on the photocatalytic degradation of DCF and the changes of dissolved organic matter (DOM) during the photocatalytic degradation process. The results showed when SE-A and SE-B were used as the background water of the DCF solution, they displayed a significant inhibitory effect on the degradation of DCF, and the values of k were 0.039 and 0.0113 min−1
, respectively. Among them, DOM played a major inhibitory role in photocatalytic degradation of DCF in sewage. In the photocatalytic process, the biological toxicity of the DCF solution was the least after 30 min of reaction, and then gradually increased. Furthermore, the organic matters in the sewage were greatly degraded after the photocatalytic reaction, including 254 and 365 nm ultraviolet (UV254
) and chemical oxygen demand (COD). Moreover, titanium dioxide (TiO2
) first catalyzed the degradation of macromolecular organic matters, and then degraded the small molecular organic matters.
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