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Open AccessArticle

Efficiency of Iron-Based Oxy-Hydroxides in Removing Antimony from Groundwater to Levels below the Drinking Water Regulation Limits

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Department of Chemical Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
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Department of Chemistry, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 238; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020238
Received: 22 November 2016 / Revised: 16 January 2017 / Accepted: 5 February 2017 / Published: 10 February 2017
This study evaluates the efficiency of iron-based oxy-hydroxides to remove antimony from groundwater to meet the requirements of drinking water regulations. Results obtained by batch adsorption experiments indicated that the qualified iron oxy-hydroxide (FeOOH), synthesized at pH 4 for maintaining a high positive charge density (2.5 mmol OH/g) achieved a residual concentration of Sb(III) below the EU drinking water regulation limit of 5 μg/L by providing an adsorption capacity of 3.1 mg/g. This is more than twice greater compared either to similar commercial FeOOHs (GFH, Bayoxide) or to tetravalent manganese feroxyhyte (Fe-MnOOH) adsorbents. In contrast, all tested adsorbents failed to achieve a residual concentration below 5 μg/L for Sb(V). The higher efficiency of the qualified FeOOH was confirmed by rapid small-scale column tests, since an adsorption capacity of 3 mg Sb(III)/g was determined at a breakthrough concentration of 5 μg/L. However, it completely failed to achieve Sb(V) concentrations below 5 μg/L even at the beginning of the column experiments. The results of leaching tests classified the spent qualified FeOOH to inert wastes. Considering the rapid kinetics of this process (i.e., 85% of total removal was performed within 10 min), the developed qualified adsorbent may be promoted as a prospective material for point-of-use Sb(III) removal from water in vulnerable communities, since the adsorbent’s cost was estimated to be close to 30 ± 3.4 €/103 m3 for every 10 μg Sb(III)/L removed. View Full-Text
Keywords: antimony; drinking water; adsorption; iron oxy-hydroxides; column tests; surface charge antimony; drinking water; adsorption; iron oxy-hydroxides; column tests; surface charge
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Simeonidis, K.; Papadopoulou, V.; Tresintsi, S.; Kokkinos, E.; Katsoyiannis, I.A.; Zouboulis, A.I.; Mitrakas, M. Efficiency of Iron-Based Oxy-Hydroxides in Removing Antimony from Groundwater to Levels below the Drinking Water Regulation Limits. Sustainability 2017, 9, 238.

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