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J Contam Hydrol. 2002 May;56(1-2):99-116.

Removal of As, Mn, Mo, Se, U, V and Zn from groundwater by zero-valent iron in a passive treatment cell: reaction progress modeling.

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  • 1Environmental Sciences Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy Grand Junction Office, CO 81503, USA.


Three treatment cells were operated at a site near Durango, CO. One treatment cell operated for more than 3 years. The treatment cells were used for passive removal of contamination from groundwater at a uranium mill tailings repository site. Zero-valent iron [Fe(0)] that had been powdered, bound with aluminosilicate and molded into plates was used as a reactive material in one treatment cell. The others used granular Fe(0) and steel wool. The treatment cells significantly reduced concentrations of As, Mn, Mo, Se, U, V and Zn in groundwater that flowed through it. Zero-valent iron [Fe(0)], magnetite (Fe3O4), calcite (CaCO3), goethite (FeOOH) and mixtures of contaminant-bearing phases were identified in the solid fraction of one treatment cell. A reaction progress approach was used to model chemical evolution of water chemistry as it reacted with the Fe(0). Precipitation of calcite, ferrous hydroxide [Fe(OH)2] and ferrous sulfide (FeS) were used to simulate observed changes in major-ion aqueous chemistry. The amount of reaction progress differed for each treatment cell. Changes in contaminant concentrations were consistent with precipitation of reduced oxides (UO2, V2O3), sulfides (As2S3, ZnS), iron minerals (FeSe2, FeMoO4) and carbonate (MnCO3). Formation of a free gas phase and precipitation of minerals contributed to loss of hydraulic conductivity in one treatment cell.

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