Column Experiment on Nitrate Purification with Polylactic Acid and Iron Powder
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Groundwater contamination by nitrates is a worldwide problem, but to date there have been no effective measures to purify contaminated groundwater. If a denitrifying system can be constructed in aquifers, it will be able to purify groundwater in situ. This purifying system should also be maintenance free. The purpose of our work is to construct a maintenance-free denitrification system for in situ groundwater purification. This paper presents the result of a basic study on a maintenance-free denitrification system using biodegradable plastic and iron powder. A biodegradable plastic (polylactic acid, PLA) and iron powder were used as detergents, and the nitrate-contaminated groundwater was injected from the bottom of a packed silica sand column filled with a mixture of the detergents. Laboratory experiments were carried out, varying factors such as molecular weight of the biodegradable plastic and mixing ratio of the detergents. Water that permeated through the purification column was sampled to determine the decrease in nitrate concentration. The experimental results suggest that a combination of PLA and iron powder seems effective for denitrification, and that the rate of the PLA degradation is closely related to the molecular weight of the PLA and iron powder content. In this case iron powder acts as accelerator in denitrification. It is concluded that a maintenance-free denitrification system can be built, using PLA and iron powder as detergents. The proposed system may also be used in a wide range of nitrate contamination conditions, adjusting the molecular weight of the PLA and the mixing ratio of the detergents.
KeywordsNitrate contamination Denitrification Biodegradable plastic Groundwater Polylactic acid
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