Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 2203–2227 | Cite as

As(III) and Cr(VI) oxyanion removal from water by advanced oxidation/reduction processes—a review

  • Belisa A. MarinhoEmail author
  • Raquel O. Cristóvão
  • Rui A. R. Boaventura
  • Vítor J. P. VilarEmail author
Review Article


Water pollution by human activities is a global environmental problem that requires innovative solutions. Arsenic and chromium oxyanions are toxic compounds, introduced in the environment by both natural and anthropogenic activities. In this review, the speciation diagrams of arsenic and chromium oxyanions in aqueous solutions and the analytical methods used for their detection and quantification are presented. Current and potential treatment methods for As and Cr removal, such as adsorption, coagulation/flocculation, electrochemical, ion exchange, membrane separation, phyto- and bioremediation, biosorption, biofiltration, and oxidative/reductive processes, are presented with discussion of their advantages, drawbacks, and the main recent achievements. In the last years, advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) have been acquiring high relevance for the treatment of water contaminated with organic compounds. However, these processes are also able to deal with inorganic contaminants, mainly by changing metal/metalloid oxidation state, turning these compounds less toxic or soluble. An overview of advanced oxidation/reduction processes (AO/RPs) used for As and Cr removal was carried out, focusing mainly on H2O2/UVC, iron-based and heterogeneous photocatalytic processes. Some aspects related to AO/RP experimental conditions, comparison criteria, redox mechanisms, catalyst immobilization, and process intensification through implementation of innovative reactors designs are also discussed. Nevertheless, further research is needed to assess the effectiveness of those processes in order to improve some existing limitations. On the other hand, the validation of those treatment methods needs to be deepened, namely with the use of real wastewaters for their future full-scale application.

Graphical abstract


Inorganic pollutants treatment Iron-based processes UVC/H2O2 Heterogeneous photocatalysis Photocatalyst immobilization Process intensification 



V.J.P. Vilar acknowledges the FCT Investigator 2013 Programme (IF/00273/2013). B.A. Marinho acknowledges Capes for her scholarship (BEX-0983-13-6). R.O. Cristóvão thanks FCT for her Post-doc Scholarship (SFRH/BPD/101456/2014).

Funding information

This work was financially supported by Project POCI-01-0145-FEDER-006984—Associate Laboratory LSRE-LCM funded by FEDER funds through COMPETE2020 - Programa Operacional Competitividade e Internacionalização (POCI)—and by national funds through FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia.


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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Separation and Reaction Engineering - Laboratory of Catalysis and Materials (LSRE-LCM), Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of EngineeringUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.CAPES FoundationMinistry of Education of BrazilBrasíliaBrazil

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