Ammonium removal by a novel magnetically modified excess sludge

  • Li-Juan Zhang
  • Xiao Zhang
  • Hong-Fei Liang
  • Yong Xie
  • Hu-Chun Tao
Original Paper


Disposal of nitrogen nutrient and excess sludge is a keen concern in wastewater treatment plants. This study describes a simple method of preparing an economical adsorbent, i.e., magnetic excess sludge (MES) by compounding the excess sludge with Fe3O4 nanoparticles. Ammonia–nitrogen removal from simulated wastewater was investigated by using the MES as an adsorbent. The MES had an adsorption efficiency of up to 90% for ammonium removal. Highly efficient separation of adsorbed ammonium on the MES could be magnetically separated from wastewater within 30 s. The operating conditions for ammonium adsorption were optimized at MES dose of 20 g/L, initial ammonium concentration of 45 mg/L and operating temperature of 298–308 K. The equilibrium data of ammonium adsorption on the MES showed a good agreement with the Langmuir isotherm, while the kinetic data were best fitted by the pseudo-second-order model. FTIR analysis indicated that various functional groups, such as hydroxyl and carboxyl groups, existed on the surface of the MES and contributed to the excellent capability for ammonium adsorption. These results suggest that the MES is a promising candidate for removing ammonium from wastewater and recycling excess sludge to ease its disposal at low cost.


Magnetic excess sludge Adsorption Ammonium Wastewater 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the sponsorship from Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Commission (JCYJ20150731091351923 and JCYJ20160330095549229) and Shenzhen Municipal Development and Reform Commission (Discipline construction of watershed ecological engineering). We appreciate the help and comments of Dr. Wei-Min Wu, Senior Researcher, Stanford University, and Visiting Professor of PKU during the manuscript preparation.

Supplementary material

10098_2018_1524_MOESM1_ESM.docx (2.6 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 2690 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Li-Juan Zhang
    • 1
  • Xiao Zhang
    • 1
  • Hong-Fei Liang
    • 1
  • Yong Xie
    • 1
  • Hu-Chun Tao
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory for Heavy Metal Pollution Control and Reutilization, School of Environment and EnergyPeking University Shenzhen Graduate SchoolShenzhenChina

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