Since the performance of algal treatment for pulp mill effluent decreases with increasing color intensity and AOX content, which mainly originate from the chlorine bleaching of Kraft pulp, the separated CEH bleaching effluent was pre-treated by both the conventional and the heterogeneous catalytic ozonation processes. An increase in the BOD5/COD, ratio from 0.11 to 0.28 and 87% color abatement in terms of Pt-Co were achieved by catalytic ozonation, which had the best treatment performance. Biodegradability enhancement of the CEH effluent correlated well with a decrease in toxicity, high-molecular-weight-compound content, and AOX abatement. By the pre-treatment of the CEH bleaching effluent, the overall efficiencies of algal treatment of the combined pulp mill effluent in terms of the fractional removal of COD and color were increased from 76% and 53% to 86-90% and 96-99%, respectively. Effects of both the conventional and the catalytic ozonation pre-treatments on subsequent biological treatment were close to each other and they reduced the filling period of the Sequential Batch Reactor (SBR) cycle from 8 to 5 days. (C) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.