Electrochemical oxidation disinfects urban stormwater: Major disinfection mechanisms and longevity tests

Wenjun Feng, Ana Deletic, Zhouyou Wang, Xiwang Zhang, Thomas Gengenbach, David T. McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Although electrochemical oxidation (ECO) has shown excellent potential for disinfecting wastewater and surface waters, its application on urban stormwater has been rarely tested. In order to improve stormwater ECO design, this paper explores the major inactivation processes using Boron Doped Diamond (BDD) and titanium Dimensional Stable Anodes (DSA). Both BDD and DSA showed comparable disinfection rates. The mechanism study suggested that BDD relied on hydroxyl radical and the presence of chloride ions, while DSA disinfected stormwater mainly via the production of free‑chlorine. A deterioration study carried out at a catchment in Melbourne, showed a steady performance for BDD and revealed that DSA's performance degraded with time, likely linked to the high operational voltage required for specific chemistry of stormwater. Scanning Electron Microscopes and an Energy Dispersive X-ray Detector tests confirmed elemental losses occurred on the DSA surface, together with an aluminium/silicon coating layer potentially sourced from the stormwater clayish sediments. Furthermore, disinfection by-products in electrochemical disinfected stormwater using either BDD or DSA were at least one order of magnitude lower than the Australia Drinking Water Guidelines limits. The mechanism and long-term study demonstrated that careful anode selection is required as some anodes will deteriorate in stormwater matrices faster than others.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1440-1447
Number of pages8
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Bacteria
  • E. coli
  • ECO
  • Human health risks
  • Stormwater harvesting

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