Ozone initiated oxidation of organic pollutants, m-xylene and 2-chloroethanol.
A variety of hazardous organic compounds are present in leachate from landfill sites that accept medical and industrial chemical waste. Most of these compounds find their way into nearby streams, rivers and dams, posing a threat to the ecosystem. In the present work two hazardous organic compounds, namely, m-xylene and 2-chloroethanol were chosen to react with ozone gas at different experimental conditions. The ozone initiated oxidation of m-xylene and 2-chloroethanol in solvent free conditions were investigated as a function of time. Gas chromatographic analysis of ozonated m-xylene, showed an increase in the conversion of substrate from about 1 % after 3 hours to about 14 % after 24 hours. Some of the ozonation products identified were formic acid, acetic acid, 3-methylbenzylalcohol, 3-methylbenzaldehyde and 3-methylbenzoic acid. The presence of acetic acid, ethyl acetate or acetone during ozonation significantly improved the percent conversion of m-xylene relative to similar products obtained under solvent free conditions. The presence of activated charcoal during ozonation of m-xylene showed marginal improvement in percent conversion compared to solvent free ozonation. The oxidation of 2-chloroethanol was followed by monitoring the consumption of the halogenated organic substrate which showed an increase in conversion from about 2 % after 3 hours to about 46 % after 12 hours. Ozonated products contained a mixture of acetaldehyde and acetic acid. It was also found that the ozonation of 2-chloroethanol yielded quantitative amounts of chloride ions. The percent conversion of 2-chloroethanol in the presence of acetic acid and ethyl acetate were higher than those under solvent free conditions. The use of activated charcoal during ozonolysis of 2-chloroethanol showed a significant increase in percent conversion of the substrate. Since 2-chloroethanol has a higher solubility in water than m-xylene the effects of solution pH, activated charcoal and hydrogen peroxide on ozone initiated reactions were studied. Solutions of 2-chloroethanol maintained at pH level 4 and 7 showed marginal changes in percent conversion compared to ozonation alone, however percent conversion improved significantly when the pH of the solution was increased to 10. The ozonation of 2-chloroethanol in the presence of 5 % hydrogen peroxide in water at pH levels 4 and 7 showed marginal changes in percent conversion compared to ozonation alone, however, percent conversion and product yields improved significantly, when the pH of the solution was increased to 10. Increasing the strength of the hydrogen peroxide in the reaction mixture from 5 % to 10 % had very little effect in the percent conversion of 2-chloroethanol and product formation. Based on the experimental findings the overall reaction mechanism for the reaction of both m-xylene and 2-chloroethanol with ozone is described.