Arsenic removal from acidic solutions with biogenic ferric precipitates

Sarita H. Ahoranta, Marika E. Kokko, Stefano Papirio, Bestamin Özkaya, Jaakko Puhakka

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    Treatment of acidic solution containing 5 g/L of Fe(II) and 10 mg/L of As(III) was studied in a system consisting of a biological fluidized-bed reactor (FBR) for iron oxidation, and a gravity settler for iron precipitation and separation of the ferric precipitates. At pH 3.0 and FBR retention time of 5.7 h, 96–98% of the added Fe(II) precipitated (99.1% of which was jarosite). The highest iron oxidation and precipitation rates were 1070 and 28 mg/L/h, respectively, and were achieved at pH 3.0. Subsequently, the effect of pH on arsenic removal through sorption and/or co-precipitation was examined by gradually decreasing solution pH from 3.0 to 1.6 (feed pH). At pH 3.0, 2.4 and 1.6, the highest arsenic removal efficiencies obtained were 99.5%, 80.1% and 7.1%, respectively. As the system had ferric precipitates in excess, decreased arsenic removal was likely due to reduced co-precipitation at pH < 2.4. As(III) was partially oxidized to As(V) in the system. In shake flask experiments, As(V) sorbed onto jarosite better than As(III). Moreover, the sorption capacity of biogenic jarosite was significantly higher than that of synthetic jarosite. The developed bioprocess simultaneously and efficiently removes iron and arsenic from acidic solutions, indicating potential for mining wastewater treatment.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)124-132
    JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2016
    Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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