Sustainable Approaches in Water Treatment Practices, Presenting Minimum Environmental Impact

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Wastewater Treatment and Reuse".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 September 2024 | Viewed by 22074
We are also glad to welcome selected papers on related topics from “The International Conference on Raw Materials and Circular Economy” (RawMat2021, https://www.rawmat2021.gr/congress/) .

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Laboratory of Chemical & Environmental Technology, Department of Chemistry, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
Interests: separation sciences and related technologies; wastewater/water treatment; membrane fouling; aerobic/anaerobic digestion; recovery/removal of metals from liquid waste streams; physicochemical methods for the treatment of contaminated water sources or of wastewaters, biological/aerobic or anaerobic treatment methods; combinations of biological and physicochemical methods; treatment/recycling issues of toxic industrial solid wastes; hydrometallurgical; physico-chemical (solidification/stabilization); thermal (vitrification), or appropriate combinations of treatment processes; carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS)
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Guest Editor

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Guest Editor
Laboratory of Chemical & Environmental Technology, Department of Chemistry, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
Interests: water treatment; adsorption; toxic metal removal; water quality; circular economy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue focuses on the promotion of sustainable technologies in the field of water treatment which achieve economic viability and competence with minimum environmental impact. Since water scarcity and contamination are emerging issues in many regions worldwide, securing new water resources through reuse or remediation strategies has turn into a mandatory task of high importance. The need to develop novel approaches gets more intense as international and local authorities adopt strict legislations concerning not only the pollutant levels in water but also the overall outcome in the environment of the used recovery process. For instance, a well-defined and very efficient water treatment method may become invalid under the prism of the upcoming demands for integrated sustainability and documented life cycle analysis. Therefore, the cost of the process, which was traditionally defined by the value of the used materials, chemicals, facilities, and energy, may be determined in the future by the ability to fulfill an environmental footprint target which is set each time. From this point of view, research on the design of modern processes or the proper modification of existing ones will serve as a building substrate towards a new era of symbiosis between human activities and the environment. In this frame, this Special issue will give particular attention to studies on treatment methods related to water management during mineral processing and to groundwater polluted by mining activities.

Prof. Dr. Anastasios Zouboulis
Dr. Konstantinos Simeonidis
Dr. Evgenios Kokkinos
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • water treatment
  • water quality parameters
  • pollutants removal
  • sustainable technologies
  • best practices
  • drinking water
  • wastewater
  • environmental impact
  • life cycle analysis

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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13 pages, 2972 KiB  
Article
Life Cycle Assessment of a Vegetable Tannin-Based Agent Production for Waters Treatment
by Lucas de Lima Casseres dos Santos, Jean Bruno Melo Silva, Luisa Soares Neves, Natalia dos Santos Renato, Julia Moltó, Juan Antonio Conesa and Alisson Carraro Borges
Water 2024, 16(7), 1007; https://doi.org/10.3390/w16071007 - 29 Mar 2024
Viewed by 787
Abstract
The scarcity of natural resources makes it essential to develop products that meet environmental requirements. This is also true for the water and wastewater treatment business, where even consolidated processes, such as coagulation and flocculation, must be improved, opening opportunities for searching for [...] Read more.
The scarcity of natural resources makes it essential to develop products that meet environmental requirements. This is also true for the water and wastewater treatment business, where even consolidated processes, such as coagulation and flocculation, must be improved, opening opportunities for searching for alternative options to conventional processes. Among the existing options, tannin-based agents (TBAs) have been highlighted in recent years due to their biodegradability and proven efficiency. However, little is known about the impacts of the production process of these agents on an operational/industrial scale. In this study, an examination of the environmental impacts of the full-scale production (more than 500 tons yearly) of a TBA from Acacia spp. (known as black acacia or mimosa) was carried out. To accomplish this, a life cycle assessment (LCA) was developed using openLCA version 2.0.0 to assess a cradle-to-gate system of 1 kg of packed TBA produced. Additionally, a comparison was made between the impacts of the production of TBA and a conventional water treatment agent, aluminum sulfate, to verify the benefits of producing the former. The most relevant impacts resulting from the production of 1 kg of TBA are observed in the following categories: global warming (1.52 kgCO2-eq); terrestrial (7.67 kg1.4-DCB-eq), freshwater (0.06 kg1.4-DCB-eq), and marine (0.08 kg1.4-DCB-eq) ecotoxicities; carcinogenic (0.10 kg1.4-DCB-eq) and non-carcinogenic (1.36 kg1.4-DCB-eq) human toxicities; and water use (0.02 m3). The main contributors to the impacts were the chemicals ammonium chloride and formaldehyde used, the transport of inputs, and the energy used. The aluminum sulfate showed better performance than the TBA for a greater number of categories; however, the normalization of the impacts showed the TBA as a very interesting option. The results obtained here can be used by TBA producers to act on the most impactful categories so that the production process becomes increasingly sustainable. Full article
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16 pages, 3942 KiB  
Article
Feasibility of a Novel (SHEFROL) Technology in Pre-Treating Eatery Wastewater at Pilot Scale
by Tabassum Abbasi, Pratiksha Patnaik, S. A. Abbasi and Tasneem Abbasi
Water 2022, 14(22), 3789; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14223789 - 21 Nov 2022
Viewed by 2184
Abstract
The wastewater ensuing from public eateries is higher in its chemical and biological oxygen demand (COD and BOD) as also its oil, grease, and protein content than sewage. For this reason such wastewater is much harder to treat; its content of fats, proteinaceous [...] Read more.
The wastewater ensuing from public eateries is higher in its chemical and biological oxygen demand (COD and BOD) as also its oil, grease, and protein content than sewage. For this reason such wastewater is much harder to treat; its content of fats, proteinaceous material, and xenobiotics mounting major challenges. But in most of the developing world about 80% of such wastewater is discharged untreated and the remaining is mixed with sewage going to the treatment plants. This happens due to the prohibitively high cost of treatment that is entailed if these wastewaters are to be treated by conventional activated sludge processes (ASPs) or a combination of anaerobic digestion and ASPs. The practice of allowing eatery wastewater to join sewage en route sewage treatment plants increases the load on the latter, especially due to the high fat and protein content of the former. The present work describes attempts to use the recently developed and patented SHEFROL® technology in affecting treatment of wastewater coming from a typical eatery. After establishing feasibility at bench scale, the process was tested in a case study at pilot plant scale for treating 12,000 litres/day (LPD) of wastewater being generated by the eateries situated in the campus of Pondicherry University, India. The capacity of the pilot plant was then expanded to 30,000 LPD. Despite operating the units at a very low hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 2 ± 0.5 h, due to the limitations of land availability, which translates to a rate about three times faster than a typical ASP, over 50% removal of COD and BOD, and similarly substantial removal of other pollutants was consistently achieved. Given that the SHEFROL units can be set up at a negligible cost, the findings indicate that SHEFROL technology can be used to significantly yet inexpensively pre-treat eatery wastewaters before either sending them for further treatment to conventional sewage treatment plants, higher-end SHEFROL units, or discharging them directly if neither of the other two options is available. Full article
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23 pages, 7348 KiB  
Article
Buffering Copper Tailings Acid Mine Drainage: Modeling and Testing at Fushë Arrëz Flotation Plant, Albania
by Giuseppe Cocomazzi, Giovanni Grieco, Agim Sinojmeri, Alessandro Cavallo, Micol Bussolesi, Elena Silvia Ferrari and Enrico Destefanis
Water 2022, 14(15), 2398; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14152398 - 2 Aug 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2177
Abstract
The beneficiation process of sulfide ores has the inevitable consequence of generating huge amounts of tailings highly enriched in sulfur, thus inducing acid mine drainage (AMD) and the release of potentially toxic elements. The aim of the work was to define the most [...] Read more.
The beneficiation process of sulfide ores has the inevitable consequence of generating huge amounts of tailings highly enriched in sulfur, thus inducing acid mine drainage (AMD) and the release of potentially toxic elements. The aim of the work was to define the most suitable procedures for buffering acid drainage waters through the addition of commercial CaCO3 paste, provided by UNICALCE. High- and low-pyrite tailing samples were collected at the copper enrichment plant of Fushë Arrëz (Northern Albania copper mining district). They were used for leaching and buffering tests, whose leachates and precipitation products were characterized by ICP-MS, chromatographic, XRD and TEM analyses. In addition, a geochemical model was developed in order to predict the pH trend of the leachate as a function of the addition of CaCO3. The results show the good buffering capacity of CaCO3, accurately predicted by the geochemical model. A drastic reduction in metals in the solution can be easily attained for low-pyrite samples, whereas high amounts of buffering agent are required to reach similar metals concentration reduction in high-pyrite. Precipitates are dominated by oxyhidroxides, followed by sulfates and hydrosilicates, but TEM showed also the presence of nanocrystalline and amorphous phases. Full article
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14 pages, 2630 KiB  
Article
Impact of Moringa oleifera Seed-Derived Coagulants Processing Steps on Physicochemical, Residual Organic, and Cytotoxicity Properties of Treated Water
by Geane Garcia Chales, Beatriz Siqueira Tihameri, Noala Vicensoto Moreira Milhan, Cristiane Yumi Koga-Ito, Maria Lúcia Pereira Antunes and Adriano Gonçalves dos Reis
Water 2022, 14(13), 2058; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14132058 - 27 Jun 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3949
Abstract
This study explored the application of whole and defatted Moringa oleifera seed-derived coagulants in powder (P-MOS and DP-MOS), aqueous extraction (AEP-MOS and AEDP-MOS), and saline extraction (SEP-MOS and SEDP-MOS) in the treatment of a synthetic turbid water by coagulation, flocculation, and sedimentation in [...] Read more.
This study explored the application of whole and defatted Moringa oleifera seed-derived coagulants in powder (P-MOS and DP-MOS), aqueous extraction (AEP-MOS and AEDP-MOS), and saline extraction (SEP-MOS and SEDP-MOS) in the treatment of a synthetic turbid water by coagulation, flocculation, and sedimentation in a jar test apparatus. The performance of M. oleifera seed-derived coagulants was quantified and compared with alum in terms of the ability to neutralize and restabilize the suspension charge, turbidity removal, effect on pH and electrical conductivity, residual organic matter, as well as cytotoxicity in the treated water. All evaluated forms of M. oleifera seed-derived coagulants were able to neutralize and restabilize (in overdose) the particles charges in the suspension. Saline extractions obtained the best turbidity removal results (90%) between the M. oleifera seed-derived coagulants, while alum removed 98% of turbidity. Differently from alum, increased dosage of M. oleifera seed-derived coagulants did not change pH value. Saline extractions and, to a lesser extent, alum increased the electrical conductivity with increasing coagulant dosage. M. oleifera seed-derived coagulants increased residual organic matter (DOC), unlike alum, which did not change this property with increasing dosage. Saline extractions at high dosages enhanced the cytotoxicity to mammalian cells. On the other hand, defatted seeds reduced water cytotoxicity when compared to whole seeds. Despite not being able to reduce the residual organic matter, the previous oil extraction proved to be an important step in the processing of M. oleifera seed-derived coagulants, not changing the turbidity removal capacity and reducing the cytotoxicity of the treated water in addition to generating a significant by-product (Ben oil). Although saline extractions have shown the best turbidity removal results, they should be used with caution due to increased electrical conductivity and cytotoxicity of the treated water at high dosages. Full article
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10 pages, 1241 KiB  
Article
Thiol-Functionalization Carbonaceous Adsorbents for the Removal of Methyl-Mercury from Water in the ppb Levels
by Evgenios Kokkinos, Aggeliki Lampou, Ioannis Kellartzis, Dimitrios Karfaridis and Anastasios Zouboulis
Water 2022, 14(1), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14010049 - 27 Dec 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2679
Abstract
Mercury is a highly toxic pollutant of major public health concern, and human exposure is mainly related to the aqueous phase, where its dominant form is methyl-mercury (MeHg). In the current work, two carbon-based adsorbents, i.e., a commercial activated carbon and a sunflower [...] Read more.
Mercury is a highly toxic pollutant of major public health concern, and human exposure is mainly related to the aqueous phase, where its dominant form is methyl-mercury (MeHg). In the current work, two carbon-based adsorbents, i.e., a commercial activated carbon and a sunflower seeds’ biochar, were modified by the introduction of thiol-active groups onto their surfaces for the MeHg removal from natural-like water in ppb concentration levels. The examined thiol-functionalization was a two-step process, since the raw materials were initially treated with nitric acid (6 N), which is a reagent that favors the formation of surface carboxyl groups, and subsequently by the thiol surface bonding groups through an esterification reaction in methanol matrix. The adsorbents’ capacity was evaluated toward the Hgtotal legislative regulation limit (1 μg/L) in drinking water (denoted as Q1). The respective isothermal adsorption results revealed an increased affinity between MeHg and thiol-functionalized materials, where the commercial carbon showed slightly higher capacity (0.116 μg Hg/mg) compared with the biochar (0.108 μg Hg/mg). This variation can be attributed to the respective higher surface area, resulting, also, to higher thiol groups loading. Regarding the proposed mechanism, it was proved that the S-Hg bond was formed, based on the characterization of the best performed saturated adsorbent. Full article
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Review

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24 pages, 1170 KiB  
Review
Arsenic Exposure via Contaminated Water and Food Sources
by Kianoush Khosravi-Darani, Yasir Rehman, Ioannis A. Katsoyiannis, Evgenios Kokkinos and Anastasios I. Zouboulis
Water 2022, 14(12), 1884; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14121884 - 11 Jun 2022
Cited by 27 | Viewed by 8480
Abstract
Arsenic poisoning constitutes a major threat to humans, causing various health problems. Almost everywhere across the world certain “hotspots” have been detected, putting in danger the local populations, due to the potential consumption of water or food contaminated with elevated concentrations of arsenic. [...] Read more.
Arsenic poisoning constitutes a major threat to humans, causing various health problems. Almost everywhere across the world certain “hotspots” have been detected, putting in danger the local populations, due to the potential consumption of water or food contaminated with elevated concentrations of arsenic. According to the relevant studies, Asia shows the highest percentage of significantly contaminated sites, followed by North America, Europe, Africa, South America and Oceania. The presence of arsenic in ecosystems can originate from several natural or anthropogenic activities. Arsenic can be then gradually accumulated in different food sources, such as vegetables, rice and other crops, but also in seafood, etc., and in water sources (mainly in groundwater, but also to a lesser extent in surface water), potentially used as drinking-water supplies, provoking their contamination and therefore potential health problems to the consumers. This review reports the major areas worldwide that present elevated arsenic concentrations in food and water sources. Furthermore, it also discusses the sources of arsenic contamination at these sites, as well as selected treatment technologies, aiming to remove this pollutant mainly from the contaminated waters and thus the reduction and prevention of population towards arsenic exposure. Full article
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