Arsenic adsorption on Fe-Mn modified granular activated carbon (GAC-FeMn): batch and fixed-bed column studies.

Research paper by Jasmina J Nikić, Jasmina J Agbaba, Malcolm A MA Watson, Aleksandra A Tubić, Marko M Šolić, Snežana S Maletić, Božo B Dalmacija

Indexed on: 29 Jan '19Published on: 29 Jan '19Published in: Journal of environmental science and health. Part A, Toxic/hazardous substances & environmental engineering


Granular activated carbon (GAC) was modified with Fe-Mn binary oxide to produce a novel effective hybrid adsorbent (GAC-FeMn) for simultaneous removal of As(III) and As(V) from water. After characterization (including BET, SEM/EDS and XRD analyses) of the raw and modified GAC, FTIR analysis before and after As removal showed that ligand exchange was the major mechanism for As removal on GAC-FeMn. Sorption kinetics followed pseudo-second order kinetics for both As(III) and As(V) and were not controlled by intraparticle diffusion. Batch equilibrium experiments yielded adsorption capacities for As(III) and As(V) of 2.87 and 2.30 mg/g, and demonstrated that better sorption was achieved at low pH. Of the competitive anions investigated (PO, SiO, CO, SO, NO, Cl), phosphate had the greatest negative effect on As(III) and As(V) adsorption. Three sorption/desorption cycles were conducted in continuous column tests with a real arsenic contaminated groundwater, with subsequent TCLP leaching tests confirming the stability of the spent sorbent. In the column tests, breakthrough curves were also obtained for phosphates, which were present at a relatively high concentration (1.33 mg/L) in the investigated groundwater. The phosphates limited the effective operational bed life of GAC-FeMn for arsenic removal. Nonetheless, the maximum arsenic adsorption capacities for GAC-FeMn obtained by the Thomas model during the three sorption cycles were high, ranging from 18.8 to 29.8 mg/g, demonstrating that even under high phosphate loads, with further process improvements, GAC-FeMn may provide an excellent solution for the economic removal of arsenic from real groundwaters.