A new method for the removal of harmful organic molecules from water is described. A low power corona discharge is created over the aqueous solution. Chemically active species diffuse into the water and then oxidize the target compound, which in this case is the model compound phenol. The energy consumption per removed phenol molecule is one order of magnitude lower compared to the discharge techniques that create a plasma in the water. The reaction mechanism of the conversion is shown by measuring the ozone concentration over the water, the intermediate/final oxidation products and the release of CO2 from the water. Indications are found that the discharge is more than merely an ozone generator.