Final Report: Advanced Oxidation Processing (AOP) for EDC Removal

EPA Grant Number: SU836768
Title: Advanced Oxidation Processing (AOP) for EDC Removal
Investigators: Tuberty, Shea
Institution: Appalachian State University
EPA Project Officer: Klieforth, Barbara I
Phase: I
Project Period: November 1, 2016 through October 31, 2017 (Extended to August 31, 2018)
Project Amount: $15,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2016) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Sustainability , P3 Awards , P3 Challenge Area - Water


Clean water is essential for life. Effective, inexpensive, low energy methods of water purification are relevant to both environmental sustainability and national defense. American soldiers must be able to survive in the field indefinitely, under any circumstances. Portable methods of water purification can ensure access to clean water, including potential reuse of wastewater, under adverse conditions. The outlined technology is designed to degrade recalcitrant pollutants, such as pharmaceuticals and endocrine disruptors, which are not readily removed by traditional treatment methods (including most field methods based on filtration or chemical oxidants). The adoption of this technology could help ensure access to clean water for our troops.

The technology also is suited to degrade most organic contaminants, such as fuel and other hydrocarbons. This technology thus has the potential to aid in environmental remediation either on established bases or remote military installations.

Lastly, access to clean water is probably the most fundamental of human rights. As we move towards an increasingly resource constrained world, future warfare will be evermore based on access to essential resources, such as water. The ability to export sustainable water purification technologies to the developing world would be one of the best exercises of American soft power. Such approaches can ensure for a healthy, secure population around the globe, drastically improving our own national security.

This project combines two innovative technologies to address the issue of emerging pollutants in water. First, metal-doped TiO2 surface films enable a visible-light activated photodegradation process that requires only sunlight as the energy input, and precludes the need for a catalyst separation step post-treatment. This technology builds on the well-known UV light-activated TiO2 catalyst for water treatment, operating either in suspension or as a surface film. Adapting the system for operation with visible photons increases the catalytic rate (making use of a larger portion of the solar spectrum) and decreases the system cost (glass/acrylic versus quartz reactors). Second, the removal of estrogenic activity from municipal wastewater effluent is being monitored by the TriFishER assay. This innovative assay monitors competitive binding of estrogenic compounds to three fish receptors, allowing for highly sensitive detection of estrogenic activity in water at biologically relevant concentrations. Combined, the project offers an effective method of water treatment, coupled with a rapid method to quantify performance.

Summary/Accomplishments (Outputs/Outcomes):

Based on the preliminary results obtained to date, we can conclude that a low percentage of iron dopant in the TiO2 lattice intensifies the degradation process, while a higher dopant load decreases the performance. The use of a surfactant to template a mesoporous TiO2 material also improved the photocatalytic activity. The TriFishER assay was effective at quantifying estrogenic activity in waters treated with TiO2, with new sources of interference identified and corrected.


While much work remains, it seems feasible that an iron-doped TiO2 surface could be developed as the catalyst for a solar-driven, single-pass treatment option for significant removal of EDCs from wastewater.

Journal Articles on this Report : 1 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other project views: All 5 publications 1 publications in selected types All 1 journal articles
Type Citation Project Document Sources
Journal Article Ramírez-Sánchez IM, Tuberty S, Hambourger M, Bandala ER. Resource efficiency analysis for photocatalytic degradation and mineralization of estriol using TiO2 nanoparticles. Chemosphere 2017;184:1270-1285. SU836768 (2017)
SU836768 (Final)
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Full-text: ScienceDirect-Full Text-HTML
  • Abstract: ScienceDirect-Abstract
  • Other: ScienceDirect-Full Text-PDF
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    Photo-oxidation, water purification, estrogens, advanced oxidation process, clean water, sunlight

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2017 Progress Report