Non-catalytic and catalytic ozonation over Pt/Al2O3 were considered in the treatment of a synthetic effluent composed of six phenolic acids usually present in olive mill wastewaters. In both processes the medium pH affected the rate of ozone decomposition and the formation of hydroxyl radicals. The optimum values were achieved for the catalytic system under pH 7 with 93.0 and 47.7%, respectively, of total phenol content and chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal, after 120 minutes of reaction. For pH 3, the catalytic ozonation followed a free radical pathway perceived by the presence of radical scavengers. No significant structural differences were observed between the fresh and used solid catalyst in X-ray diffraction analysis. Aluminium leaching behaviour was also evaluated at the end of each experiment. Moreover, a sequence of feed-batch trials involving the catalyst reutilization exhibited almost constant activity during the operation time. Eco-toxicological tests were performed for both processes, revealing that the treated effluent still presents some ecological impact, although it is lower than that for the raw wastewater.
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