4-Chlorophenol in the presence of catalysts was decomposed in aqueous solution by a 125 W medium pressure mercury lamp in a thermostated quartz batch photoreactor, and the organic bound chlorine was catalytically converted into the environmentally less harmful inorganic chloride. Differences in the concentration of 4-chlorophenol and of the intermediates, such as hydroquinone and quinone, are followed by HPLC. The best catalyst among a homolog series for the photo-decomposition of 4-chlorophenol was selected as finely dispersed platinum oxide on a TiO2 semiconductor support, and kinetic parameters of the Langmuir-Hinshelwood type decomposition reaction were reported for the selected catalyst. A simple mechanism of substrate degradation in accord with the chosen kinetic model was postulated. The developed process may serve photooxidative removal of chlorophenols in wastewater without using costly oxidants. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.