Water, Air, & Soil Pollution

, Volume 223, Issue 5, pp 2373–2386 | Cite as

Ion Exchange Treatment of Groundwater Contaminated by Arsenic in the Presence of Sulphate. Breakthrough Experiments and Modeling

  • Agostina ChiavolaEmail author
  • Emilio D’Amato
  • Renato Baciocchi


This report deals with the application of ion exchange columns to the treatment of groundwater contaminated by high concentrations of arsenic in the presence of sulphates. Two different process layouts were tested, based on the use of a single column and of two-in-series columns, respectively. Several breakthrough tests were performed, where the effect of the operating parameters, as the influent flow rate, the packed bed height and the feed water composition, were investigated. The collected data were described using three different modeling approaches, based on the Bohart–Adams, Yan and Thomas models, respectively. These models were all found to describe the experimental data with a quite good agreement (based on the R 2 value). The ion exchange capacity evaluated by the models (about 3.8 mEq/g) was comparable with the value provided by the supplier (3.8 mEq/g), but higher than the value determined through batch tests of a previous study by the same authors. The models were then successfully applied to describe the breakthrough behaviour of the two in-series column plant using a real feed contaminated by high arsenic concentrations in the presence of sulphate.


Arsenic Breakthrough Column plant Exhaustion Ion exchange resin Sulphates 





Pentavalent arsenic


Trivalent arsenic


Maximum admissible concentration


Ion exchange






Time (h)


Effluent concentration (mg/l or μg/l)


Influent concentration (mg/l or μg/l)


Bed volume (ml)


Weight of bed resin (mg)


Influent flow rate (ml/min)


Empty bed contact time (min)


Resin uptake capacity (mg)


Total amount of arsenic fed to the column at time t (mg)


Total ion removal (%)


Temperature (°C)

F1 and F2

Real feed waters


Bed depth-service-time


Bohart–Adams rate constant (l/h mg)


Bed depth (m)


Maximum solid phase capacity per unit volume of bed (mg/l)


Superficial liquid velocity (m/h)


Cross section surface of the resin bed (m2)


Maximum solid phase capacity per unit weight of bed estimated by the Bohart–Adams model (mg/g)


Thomas rate constant (l/h mg)


Maximum solid phase capacity per unit weight of bed estimated by the Thomas model (mg/g)


Throughput volume (l)


Modified dose–response model constant (unit-less)


BKT time (min)


EX time (min)


Efficiency of the regeneration phase (%)


Expected sulphates in the spent brine solution (mg/l)


Measured sulphates in the spent brine solution (mg/l)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Agostina Chiavola
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emilio D’Amato
    • 2
  • Renato Baciocchi
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of Engineering, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile, Edile e AmbientaleSapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  2. 2.Faculty of Engineering, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile e AmbientaleUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly
  3. 3.Faculty of Engineering, Dipartimento di Ingegneria CivileUniversity of Rome Tor VergataRomeItaly

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