Elucidating sulfate radical-mediated disinfection profiles and mechanisms of Escherichia coli and Enterococcus faecalis in municipal wastewater.

Document Type


Publication Date



Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering


Practical applications of disinfection technologies for engineered waters require an in‒depth under-standing of disinfection profiles and mechanisms of pathogenic bacteria in a complex matrix. This study investigated the inactivation of E. coli and E. faecalis by SO-4, an emerging advanced disinfectant, in ultra pure water (UPW) and wastewater effluent (WE). Based on the bacterial inactivation kinetics in UPW in a zerovalent iron/peroxydisulfate system, the second order rate constants (k) for SO-4 reacting with E. coliand E. faecalis were measured to be (1.39±0.1) x 109 M-1 s-1 and (6.71±0.1) x 109 M-1 s-1,respectively. The morphological images of both bacteria by the scanning electron microscope indicated that SO-4 initiates oxidative reactions on the wall/membranes, causing their irreversible damage, ultimately affecting membrane permeability and physiological functions. To profile the inactivation kinetics of two strains of bacteria in WE matrix, a mechanistic process‒based model with the obtained k values was developed. Sensitivity and uncertainty analyses indicated that the key parameters for the model predictions were the concentrations of halide ions (i.e.,Br- and Cl-) in WE and their k values reacting with SO-4 accounting for>80% of uncertainty or variance expected in predicted bacterial inactivation.This model allows precise estimation of required disinfectant dose even in complex water matrices,shedding lights on the extension of application of SO-4‒ based technology in wastewater treatments.

Publication Title

Water research