Changes in the nature of dissolved organics during pulp and paper mill wastewater treatment: A multivariate statistical study combining data from three analytical techniques
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The paper-making process can produce large amounts of wastewater (WW) with high particulate and dissolved organic loads. Generally, in developed countries, stringent international regulations for environmental protection require pulp and paper mill WW to be treated to reduce the organic load prior to discharge into the receiving environment. This can be achieved by primary and secondary treatments involving both chemical and biological processes. These processes result in complex changes in the nature of the organic material, as some components are mineralised and others are transformed. In this study, changes in the nature of organics through different stages of secondary treatment of pulp and paper mill WW were followed using three advanced characterisation techniques: solid-state 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, pyrolysis-gas chromatography mass spectrometry (py-GCMS) and high-performance size-exclusion chromatography (HPSEC). Each technique provided a different perspective on the changes that occurred. To compare the different chemical perspectives in terms of the degree of similarity/difference between samples, we employed non-metric multidimensional scaling. Results indicate that NMR and HPSEC provided strongly correlated perspectives, with 86 % of the discrimination between the organic samples common to both techniques. Conversely, py-GCMS was found to provide a unique, and thus complementary, perspective. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
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