Comparison of Fenton and Photo-Fenton Processes for Removal of Organic Pollutants from Tanneries, Department of Quindío, Colombia

Irma María García Giraldo, Henry Reyes Pineda, Eduardo Alexis Lobo


The wastewater produced by tanneries has many recalcitrant and toxic organic pollutants that do not meet the current environmental standard and are very dangerous for humans and biota. Therefore, there is an urgent challenge in developing robust oxidation processes guaranteeing their organic elimination to preserve water quality. Fenton and photo-Fenton techniques, which are part of advanced oxidation processes, are currently very innovative and effective for the decontamination of polluting organic agents and recalcitrant compounds in industrial wastewater. In this context, this research aimed to apply the reagents Fenton (Fe+2/H2O2) and photo-Fenton (Fe+2/H2O2 + uv) in contaminated waters from tanneries in the Department of Quindío, Colombia. For this, solutions of 1L of raw water extracted from the tanneries were prepared by adjusting the pH to 4.0. Then, Fenton’s reagent was added and stirred for 2 hours at 150 rpm. Later these same solutions were exposed to ultraviolet light at 269 nm for 2 hours to perform the photo-Fenton process. The results indicated that better decontamination of these effluents was obtained with the photo-Fenton process, although the differences between the two reagents were not statistically significant (p > 0.05). However, we found a decrease in water turbidity, chemical oxygen demand (COD), total organic carbon (TOC), and color, in a higher percentage with photo-Fenton (92%), which makes these techniques sustainable to improve the environment and the quality of life of people who live around these industries. In addition, the advanced oxidation processes are very economical when implemented since, in the photo-Fenton case, solar energy, a type of renewable energy, is used. It should also be noted that they are very efficient techniques when removing organic contaminants for the tannery industries since these have been reported as one of the most polluting industries in the world. Therefore, these processes are recommended for the effective decontamination of organic residues in the effluents produced by the tanning processes.


Keywords: tanneries, Fenton, photo-Fenton, wastewater.

Full Text:



FENTON H J H. LXXIII - Oxidation of Tartaric Acid in Presence of Iron. Journal of the Chemical Society, Transactions, 1894, 65: 899–910.

HABER F, & WEISS J. The catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide by iron salts. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series A - Mathematical and Physical Sciences, 1934, 147(861): 332–351.

GALLARD H, & DE LAAT J. Kinetic modelling of Fe(III)/H2O2 oxidation reactions in dilute aqueous solution using atrazine as a model organic compound. Water Research, 2000, 34(12): 3107–3116.

PERA-TITUS M, GARCÍA-MOLINA V, BAÑOS M. A, et al. Degradation of chlorophenols by means of advanced oxidation processes: A general review. Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 2004, 47(4): 219–256.

COMAN V, ROBOTIN B, & ILEA P. Nickel recovery/removal from industrial wastes: A review. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 2013, 73: 229–238.

WALLING C, CAMAIONI D M, & KIM S S. Aromatic Hydroxylation by Peroxydisulfate. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 1978, 100(15): 4814–4818.

ANDREOZZI R, CAPRIO V, INSOLA A, & MAROTTA R. Advanced oxidation processes (AOP) for water purification and recovery. Catalysis Today, 1999, 53(1): 51–59.

GARRIDO-RAMÍREZ E G, THENG B K G, & MORA M L. Clays and oxide minerals as catalysts and nanocatalysts in Fenton-like reactions - A review. Applied Clay Science, 2010, 47(3–4): 182–192.

HERNEY-RAMIREZ J, VICENTE M A, & MADEIRA L M. Heterogeneous photo-Fenton oxidation with pillared clay-based catalysts for wastewater treatment: A review. Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 2010, 98(1–2): 10–26.

SUM O S N, FENG J, HU X, & YUE P L. Pillared laponite clay-based Fe nanocomposites as heterogeneous catalysts for photo-Fenton degradation of acid black. Chemical Engineering Science, 2004, 59(22–23): 5269–5275.

LI B, DONG Y, ZOU C, & XU Y. Iron(III)-alginate fiber complex as a highly effective and stable heterogeneous Fenton photocatalyst for mineralization of organic dye. Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, 2014, 53(11): 4199–4206.

PLAKAS K V, KARABELAS A J, SKLARI S D, & ZASPALIS V T. Toward the development of a novel electro-Fenton system for eliminating toxic organic substances from water. Part 1. in situ generation of hydrogen peroxide. Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, 2013, 52(39): 13948–13956.

HAMMER Ø, HARPER D A T, & RYAN P D. PAST: Paleontological Statistics Software Package for Education and Data Analysis. Palaeontología Electronica, 2001, 4(1): 9p.


  • There are currently no refbacks.