The chronic ingestion of arsenic (As) contaminated water has raised significant health concerns worldwide. Iron-based coagulants have been widely used to remove As oxyanions from drinking water sources. In addition, the system’s ability to lower As within the maximum acceptable contamination level (MCL) is critical for protecting human health from its detrimental effects. Accordingly, the current study comprehensively investigates the performance of As removal under various influencing factors including pH, contact time, temperature, As (III, V) concentration, ferric chloride (FC) dose, and interfering ions. The optimum pH for As (V) removal with FC was found to be pH 6–7, and it gradually decreased as the pH increased. In contrast, As (III) removal increased with an increase in pH with an optimum pH range of 7–10. The adsorption of As on precipitated iron hydroxide (FHO) was better fitted with pseudo-second order and modified Langmuir–Freundlich models. The antagonistic effect of temperature on As removal with FC was observed, with optimum temperature of 15–25 °C. After critically evaluating the optimum operating conditions, the uptake indices of both As species were developed to select appropriate an FC dose for achieving the MCL level. The results show that the relationship between residual concentration, FC dose, and adsorption affinity of the system was well represented by uptake indices. The higher FC dose was required for suspensions containing greater concentration of As species to achieve MCL level. The As (V) species with a greater adsorption affinity towards FHO require a relatively smaller FC dose than As (III) ions. Moreover, the significant influence of interfering species on As removal was observed in simulated natural water. The author hopes that this study may help researchers and the drinking water industry to develop uptake indices of other targeted pollutants in achieving MCL level during water treatment operations in order to ensure public health safety.
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