Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 4266–4276 | Cite as

Versatility of iron-rich steel waste for the removal of high arsenic and sulfate concentrations in water

  • Sandrine F. Araujo
  • Cláudia L. Caldeira
  • Virgínia S. T. Ciminelli
  • Ariadna Silva
  • Camila C. AmorimEmail author
Advanced Oxidation Technologies: State-of-the-Art in Ibero-American Countries


The aim of this work is to evaluate the application of a steel waste, basic oxygen furnace sludge (BOFS), rich in iron, to treat water contaminated with elevated arsenic and sulfate concentrations. In the first step, three doses (10, 60, and 80 g L−1) of BOFS were tested to investigate the removal of As(III) and As(V) (67 mg L−1) and sulfate (3700 mg L−1) separately from an aqueous solution. In the second step, the efficacies of BOFS (10 g L−1) and commercial ZVI (5 g L−1) were compared to simultaneously remove arsenic and sulfate. The pH of the feed solution was adjusted to 2.5 and monitored during the experiment. The use of BOFS achieved arsenic removal up to 92% and sulfate removal of nearly 40% after 72 h of contact time. Use of BOFS also increased the solution pH to 12. Similar removal levels were achieved with both BOFS and ZVI. These results confirm the potential application of BOFS to remove high arsenic and sulfate concentrations from acidic solutions. The data obtained here should be used as a basis for further studies on the remediation of acid mine drainage with high concentrations of arsenic and sulfate using an abundant and low-cost steel waste.


Basic oxygen furnace sludge (BOFS) Arsenic removal Sulfate removal Steel waste reuse 



The authors are grateful to the Brazilian government agencies—FAPEMIG, CAPES, and CNPQ—for funding this research. The authors would like to thank Filipe A. T. Alves and Patricia Lopes at LAQ-DEMET/UFMG for performing the ICP-OES analyses. The authors would like to thank the Center of Microscopy at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais ( for providing the equipment and technical support for the experiments involving water analysis and electron microscopy.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering, Research Group on Advanced Oxidation Processes-GruPOAUniversidade Federal de Minas Gerais, UFMGBelo HorizonteBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Metallurgical and Materials EngineeringUniversidade Federal de Minas Gerais, UFMGBelo HorizonteBrazil
  3. 3.National Institute of Science and Technology: INCTe AcquaBelo HorizonteBrazil

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