The present research work was intended to find out the useful information on identification, separation and photocatalytic degradation of organic compounds present in leather industry wastewater. The separation of organic compounds present in leather industry wastewater was carried out by solvent extraction. The separated crude extracted products were purified through column chromatography and characterized by UV–vis spectrophotometer, gas chromatography–mass spectrophotometer, liquid chromatography–mass spectrophotometer, 1H and 13C Fourier-transform nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The elemental analysis of wastewater and solid residue was carried out by inductively coupled plasma-optical emission and X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy. The organic compounds such as nonadec-1-ene, 2-phenylethanol, 2,4-di-tert-butylphenol and other organic compounds in the leather industry wastewater were identified. Out of these organic compounds, 2-phenylethanol was photocatalytically degraded using standard Degussa P-25 TiO2 (100 mg) photocatalyst under the irradiation of UV light. Result has been shown that 2-phenylethanol was transformed into 2-tert-butyl-4,6-dimethylphenol, 2,6-di-tert-butyl-4-methylphenol then the prolonged time (30 h) irradiation leads to 100 % degradation of 2-phenylethanol. Further possible degradation mechanism of 2-phenylethanol was proposed based on the electrospray ionization mass spectrometry analysis of degraded samples. The degradation of 2-phenylethanol was confirmed by chemical oxygen demand analysis of degraded samples. The physicochemical parameters such as pH, color, chemical oxygen demand, total dissolved solids, electrical conductivity and ionic chromatography analysis of the leather industry wastewater were also measured.