Skip to main content

Fixed Bed Sorption of Phosphorus from Wastewater Using Iron Oxide-Based Media Derived from Acid Mine Drainage

Abstract

Phosphorus (P) releases to the environment have been implicated in the eutrophication of important water bodies worldwide. Current technology for the removal of P from wastewaters consists of treatment with aluminum (Al) or iron (Fe) salts, but is expensive. The neutralization of acid mine drainage (AMD) generates sludge rich in Fe and Al oxides that has hitherto been considered a waste product, but these sludges could serve as an economical adsorption media for the removal of P from wastewaters. Therefore, we have evaluated an AMD-derived media as a sorbent for P in fixed bed sorption systems. The homogenous surface diffusion model (HSDM) was used to analyze fixed bed test data and to determine the value of related sorption parameters. The surface diffusion modulus Ed was found to be a useful predictor of sorption kinetics. Values of Ed < 0.2 were associated with early breakthrough of P, while more desirable S-shaped breakthrough curves resulted when 0.2 < Ed < 0.5. Computer simulations of the fixed bed process with the HSDM confirmed that if Ed was known, the shape of the breakthrough curve could be calculated. The surface diffusion coefficient D s was a critical factor in the calculation of Ed and could be estimated based on the sorption test conditions such as media characteristics, and influent flow rate and concentration. Optimal test results were obtained with a relatively small media particle size (average particle radius 0.028 cm) and resulted in 96 % removal of P from the influent over 46 days of continuous operation. These results indicate that fixed bed sorption of P would be a feasible option for the utilization of AMD residues, thus helping to decrease AMD treatment costs while at the same time ameliorating the impacts of P contamination.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6

Notes

  1. 1.

    Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the US Government.

Abbreviations

Bi:

Biot number (dimensionless)

C :

Solution phase concentration (M/L3)

C 0 :

Influent solution concentration (M/L3)

D g :

Solute distribution parameter (dimensionless)

DRP:

Dissolved reactive phosphorus (M/L3)

D s :

Surface diffusion coefficient (L2/t)

EBCT:

Empty bed contact time (t)

Ed:

Surface diffusion modulus (dimensionless)

HLR:

Hydraulic loading rate (L/t)

K F :

Freundlich isotherm coefficient ((L3/M)n)

k f :

Liquid phase mass transfer coefficient (L/t)

m :

Mass of adsorbent (M)

n :

Freundlich isotherm exponent (dimensionless)

q :

Solid phase concentration (M/M)

q e :

Solid phase concentration at equilibrium (M/M)

Q :

Liquid flow rate (L3/t)

R part :

Sorbent particle radius (L)

St:

Stanton number (dimensionless)

t :

Time (t)

t sat :

Ideal time to media saturation (t)

T :

Normalized time (dimensionless)

ρ p :

Density of sorbent particle (M/L3)

References

  1. Adler, P. R., & Sibrell, P. L. (2003). Sequestration of phosphorus by acid mine drainage floc. Journal of Environmental Quality, 32(3), 1122–1129.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. APHA (American Public Health Association, American Water Works Association and Water Environment Federation). (1998). Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater (20th ed.). Washington, DC: APHA.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Badruzzaman, M., Westerhoff, P., & Knappe, D. R. U. (2004). Intraparticle diffusion and adsorption of arsenate onto granular ferric hydroxide (GFH). Water Research, 38(18), 4002–4012.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Blaney, L. M., Cinar, S., & SenGupta, A. K. (2007). Hybrid anion exchanger for trace phosphate removal from water and wastewater. Water Research, 41(7), 1603–1613.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Brattebo, H., & Odegaard, H. (1986). Phosphorus removal by granular activated alumina. Water Research, 20(8), 977–986.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Dow Chemical Company. (2001). Lab guide. Column separations using resins and adsorbents. Available at http://www.dow.com, last accessed December 23, 2011.

  7. Drizo, A., Forget, C., Chapuis, R. P., & Comeau, Y. (2006). Phosphorus removal by electric arc furnace steel slag and serpentine. Water Research, 40(8), 1547–1554.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Dzombak, D. A., & Morel, F. M. M. (1990). Surface complexation modeling—hydrous ferric oxides. New York: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Fenton, O., Healy, M. G., & Rodgers, M. (2009). Use of ochre from an abandoned metal mine in the south east of Ireland for phosphorus sequestration from dairy dirty water. Journal of Environmental Quality, 38(3), 1120–1125.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Genz, A., Kornmüller, A., & Jekel, M. (2004). Advanced phosphorus removal from membrane filtrates by adsorption on activated aluminium oxide and granulated ferric hydroxide. Water Research, 38(16), 3523–3530.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Hand, D. W., Crittenden, J. C., & Thacker, W. E. (1984). Simplified models for design of fixed-bed adsorption systems. Journal of Environmental Engineering, 110(2), 440–456.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Heal, K., Younger, P. L., Smith, K., Glendinning, S., Quinn, P., & Dobbie, K. (2003). Novel use of ochre from mine water treatment plants to reduce point and diffuse phosphorus pollution. Land Contamination and Reclamation, 11(2), 145–152.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Kemp, W. M., Boynton, W. R., Adolf, J. E., Boesch, D. F., Boicourt, W. C., Brush, G., Cornwell, J. C., Fisher, T. R., Glibert, P. M., Hagy, J. D., Harding, L. W., Houde, E. D., Kimmel, D. G., Miller, W. D., Newell, R. I. E., Roman, M. R., Smith, E. M., & Stevenson, J. C. (2005). Eutrophication of Chesapeake Bay: historical trends and ecological interactions. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 303, 1–29.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Lindsay, W. L. (1979). Chemical equilibria in soils. Caldwell: Blackburn.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Makris, K. C., El-Shall, H., Harris, W. G., O’Connor, G. A., & Obreza, T. A. (2004). Intraparticle phosphorus diffusion in a drinking water treatment residual at room temperature. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 277(2), 417–423.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Matisoff, G., & Ciborowski, J. J. H. (2005). Lake Erie trophic status collaborative study. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 31(Supplement 2), 1–10.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Mertz, K. A., Gobin, F., Hand, D. W., Hokanson, D. R., & Crittenden, J. C. (1999). Manual: Adsorption design software for Windows. Available at http://cpas.mtu.edu/etdot/, last accessed December 22, 2011.

  18. Penn, C. J., Bryant, R. B., Kleinman, P. J. A., & Allen, A. L. (2007). Removing dissolved phosphorus from drainage ditch water with phosphorus sorbing materials. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 62(4), 269–276.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Scavia, D., & Donnelly, K. A. (2007). Reassessing hypoxia forecasts for the Gulf of Mexico. Environmental Science and Technology, 41(23), 8111–8117.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Sibrell, P. L., Montgomery, G. A., Ritenour, K. L., & Tucker, T. W. (2009). Removal of phosphorus from agricultural wastewaters using adsorption media prepared from acid mine drainage sludge. Water Research, 43(8), 2240–2250.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. Sibrell, P. L. (2007). Method of removing phosphorus from wastewater. U.S. Patent 7,294,275.

  22. Sorensen, M. A., Stackpoole, M. M., Frenkel, A. I., Bordia, R. K., Korshin, G. V., & Christensen, T. H. (2000). Aging of iron (hydr)oxides by heat treatment and effects on heavy metal binding. Environmental Science and Technology, 34(18), 3991–4000.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. Sperlich, A., Werner, A., Genz, A., Amy, G., Worch, E., & Jekel, M. (2005). Breakthrough behavior of granular ferric hydroxide (GFH) fixed-bed adsorption filters: modeling and experimental approaches. Water Research, 39(6), 1190–1198.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. Sperlich, A., Schimmelpfennig, S., Baumgarten, B., Genz, A., Amy, G., Worch, E., & Jekel, M. (2008). Predicting anion breakthrough in granular ferric hydroxide (GFH) adsorption filters. Water Research, 42(8–9), 2073–2082.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  25. Summers, R. N., Smirk, D. D., & Karafilis, D. (1996). Phosphorus retention and leachates from sandy soil amended with bauxite residue (red mud). Australian Journal of Soil Research, 34(4), 555–567.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Tchobanoglous, G., & Burton, F. L. (1991). Wastewater engineering: Treatment, disposal, and reuse (Metcalf & Eddy, Inc., 3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

  27. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (1995). A guide to the biosolids risk assessments for the EPA Part 503 Rule. EPA/832-B-93-005. Washington, DC: EPA.

  28. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2003). Definition and procedure for the determination of the method detection limit. Code of Federal Regulations Title 40, Pt. 136, App. B. Washington, DC: EPA.

  29. Weber, W. J., Jr. (1972). Physicochemical processes for water quality control (p. 210). New York: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Wei, X., Viadero, R. C., & Bhojappa, S. (2008). Phosphorus removal by acid mine drainage sludge from secondary effluents of municipal wastewater treatment plants. Water Research, 42(13), 3275–3284.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

The authors thank Barnaby Watten, US Geological Survey, and David Hand, Michigan Technological University, for their comments and suggestions to improve the manuscript. We also thank Bill Sabatose, of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, for his assistance in procuring samples of iron oxide sorption media from the Blue Valley Mine Drainage Treatment and Fish Culture Station in Brandy Camp, PA.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to P. L. Sibrell.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Sibrell, P.L., Tucker, T.W. Fixed Bed Sorption of Phosphorus from Wastewater Using Iron Oxide-Based Media Derived from Acid Mine Drainage. Water Air Soil Pollut 223, 5105–5117 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11270-012-1262-x

Download citation

Keywords

  • Acid mine drainage sludge
  • Eutrophication
  • Phosphorus removal
  • Fixed bed sorption
  • Homogenous surface diffusion model
  • Wastewater
  • Iron oxide sorption media