Sonication of pulp and paper effluent

Lawton E. Shaw, Dana Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Final effluent from a pulp and paper kraft mill was exposed to power ultrasound at 357 kHz with the aim of reducing color, turbidity, and chemical oxygen demand (COD). Absorbance measurements showed a bleaching of the effluent at wavelengths above 250 nm, indicating loss of aromatic chromophores. Effluent turbidity also decreased. Surprisingly, there was no observable decrease in COD, within experimental error. This is attributed to the presence of bicarbonate and sulfate ions in the final effluent, which react with hydroxyl radicals and effectively block the oxidation of organics in the effluent. This was demonstrated by sonicating solutions of potassium hydrogen phthalate (KHP) containing chloride, bicarbonate, or sulfate ions, which are the major inorganic ions in the final effluent studied. A solution containing only 2.3 mM KHP showed a 19% reduction in COD after 6 h of sonication. An identical solution with 200 ppm chloride also showed a 19% COD reduction. However, solutions with 700 ppm sulfate and 400 ppm bicarbonate showed COD reductions of 11% and 3%, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-324
Number of pages4
JournalUltrasonics Sonochemistry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar. 2009


  • Bleaching
  • Chemical oxygen demand
  • Effluent
  • Pulp and paper
  • Turbidity
  • Ultrasound
  • Wastewater


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