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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 684; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070684

Use of Vegetable Fibers for PRB to Remove Heavy Metals from Contaminated Aquifers—Comparisons among Cabuya Fibers, Broom Fibers and ZVI

1
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Calabria, Rende (CS) 87036, Italy
2
Faculty of Engineering, National University of Chimborazo, Riobamba EC060104, Ecuador
3
National Research Council (C.N.R.-I.T.M.), Rende (CS) 87036, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 April 2017 / Revised: 15 June 2017 / Accepted: 22 June 2017 / Published: 24 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
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Abstract

The Zero Valent Iron (ZVI) is the material most commonly used for permeable reactive barriers (PRB). For technical and economic reasons, hoter reactive substances usable in alternative to ZVI are investigated. The present study takes into account a vegetable fibers, the cabuya, investigating its capacity to retain heavy metals. The capacity of the cabuya fibers to adsorb heavy metals was verified in laboratory, by batch and column tests. The batch tests were carried out with cabuya and ZVI, using copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb). The results obtained by the cabuya fibers showed a very high adsorption capacity of heavy metals and resulted very similar to those obtained for the broom fibers in a previous study. The high value of the absorption capacity of the cabuya fibers was also confirmed by the analogous comparison made with the results of the batch tests carried out with ZVI. Column tests, using copper, zinc and cadmium, allowed to determine for the cabuya fibers the maximum removal percentage of the heavy metals considered, the corresponding times and the time ranges of the release phase. For each metal considered, for a given length and three different times, the constant of degradation of cabuya fibers was determined, obtaining values very close to those reported for broom fibers. The scalar behavior of heavy metal removal percentage was verified. An electron microscope analysis allowed to compare, by SEM images, the characteristics of the cabuya and broom fibers. Finally, to investigate the chemical structure of cabuya and broom fibers, the FTIR technique was used, obtaining their respective infrared spectra. View Full-Text
Keywords: aquifer contamination; heavy metals; human health; permeable reactive barriers; remediation; vegetal fibers aquifer contamination; heavy metals; human health; permeable reactive barriers; remediation; vegetal fibers
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Mayacela Rojas, C.M.; Rivera Velásquez, M.F.; Tavolaro, A.; Molinari, A.; Fallico, C. Use of Vegetable Fibers for PRB to Remove Heavy Metals from Contaminated Aquifers—Comparisons among Cabuya Fibers, Broom Fibers and ZVI. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 684.

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