Low-cost adsorption materials for removal of metals from contaminated water.
Batch equilibrium and dynamic column studies were undertaken to compare the metal-removal capabilities of two natural, low-cost materials (dried, crushed brown seaweed and shrimp shells) with a commercially available strong acid cation exchange resin (CER). All media maintained structural and hydraulic integrity over the duration of the column experiments. The batch tests showed that the low-cost materials demonstrated high adsorption capacities and affinities to Pb, Cu, Cd and Zn, but were slightly outperformed by the CER. Metal removal by each media was far superior to that reported for other types of low cost materials. Fixed beds of each media reduced concentrations of the target metals in a synthetic drainage water solution to levels below reference values measured at a case study site. This result suggests that any of the materials tested have the potential to completely remove impacts of a point source of metal contamination on the local water regime at the site. The CER column sustained the longest service time without large-scale breakthrough of any metal.
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