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The removal efficiency and long-term hydraulic behaviour of zero valent iron/lapillus mixtures for the simultaneous removal of Cu2+, Ni2+ and Zn2+

Bilardi, Stefania, Calabrò, Paolo Salvatore, Moraci, Nicola
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.675 pp. 490-500
adsorption, aqueous solutions, copper, groundwater, heavy metals, hydraulic conductivity, iron, mathematical models, nickel, remediation, zinc
Granular mixtures composed of zero valent iron (ZVI) and lapillus at two different weight ratios (i.e. 30:70 and 50:50) were tested through column experiments for the simultaneous removal of Cu2+, Ni2+ and Zn2+ present in aqueous solutions at high concentrations. The results were used to evaluate the feasibility of the above-mentioned granular mixtures as reactive media in permeable reactive barriers (PRB) for the remediation of groundwater polluted by metals. Test results showed that the two granular reactive media efficiently removed the three heavy metals under study according to the following removal sequence Cu > Zn > Ni. The granular mixture with the higher iron content showed a proportionally higher removal rate but also a higher reduction of hydraulic conductivity over time. Different removal mechanisms occurred for the three contaminants in question. Considering that for Ni and Zn the main removal mechanism was probably adsorption, we used different mathematical models, in order to predict the breakthrough curves for the adsorption mechanisms. The Adams-Bohart model showed the best fit with the experimental data and it was thus used to predict the zinc removal front within the barrier thickness. Finally, we showed that the mathematical approach may be used for the design of PRBs for the reactive media and contaminants used in this research.