The process of coagulation and precipitation affect the fate and mobility of antimony (Sb) species in drinking water. Moreover, the solubility and physico-chemical properties of the precipitates may be affected by the media chemistry. Accordingly, the present study aimed to investigate the removal of Sb(III, V) species by ferric chloride coagulation under various water chemistry influences with a particular focus on the role of the properties of the precipitates. The results indicated that the amount of Sb(III) removed increased with increasing solution pH, showing the insignificant effects of the hydrodynamic diameter (HDD) and ζ-potential of the precipitates. However, no Sb(V) removal occurred at alkaline pH values, while a highly negative ζ-potential and the complete dissolution of precipitates were observed in the aqueous solution. The solution pH was also useful in determining the dominant coagulation mechanisms, such as co-precipitation and adsorption. The Fe solubility substantially affects the Sb removal at a certain pH range, while the HDD of the precipitates plays an insignificant role in Sb removal. The presence of divalent cations brings the ζ-potential of the precipitates close to point of zero charge (pzc), thus enhancing the Sb(V) removal at alkaline pH conditions. Pronounced adverse effects of humic acid were observed on Sb removal, ζ-potential and HDD of the precipitates. In general, this study may provide critical information to a wide group of researchers dealing with environmental protection from heavy metal pollution.
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