American Chemical Society
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Impact of Ozonation on Naphthenic Acids Speciation and Toxicity of Oil Sands Process-Affected Water to Vibrio fischeri and Mammalian Immune System

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journal contribution
posted on 2013-06-18, 00:00 authored by Nan Wang, Pamela Chelme-Ayala, Leonidas Perez-Estrada, Erick Garcia-Garcia, Jonathan Pun, Jonathan W. Martin, Miodrag Belosevic, Mohamed Gamal El-Din
Oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) is the water contained in tailings impoundment structures in oil sands operations. There are concerns about the environmental impacts of the release of OSPW because of its toxicity. In this study, ozonation followed by biodegradation was used to remediate OSPW. The impacts of the ozone process evolution on the naphthenic acids (NAs) speciation and acute toxicity were evaluated. Ion-mobility spectrometry (IMS) was used to preliminarily separate isomeric and homologous species. The results showed limited effects of the ozone reactor size on the treatment performance in terms of contaminant removal. In terms of NAs speciation, high reactivity of NAs with higher number of carbons and rings was only observed in a region of high reactivity (i.e., utilized ozone dose lower than 50 mg/L). It was also found that nearly 0.5 mg/L total NAs was oxidized per mg/L of utilized ozone dose, at utilized ozone doses lower than 50 mg/L. IMS showed that ozonation was able to degrade NAs, oxidized NAs, and sulfur/nitrogenated NAs. Complete removal of toxicity toward Vibrio fischeri was achieved after ozonation followed by 28-day biodegradation period. In vitro and in vivo assays indicated that ozonation reduced the OSPW toxicity to mice.