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Water Res. 2008 Jan;42(1-2):238-48. Epub 2007 Jul 12.

NOM removal by adsorption onto granular ferric hydroxide: Equilibrium, kinetics, filter and regeneration studies.

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Department of Water Quality Control, Technical University of Berlin, Sekr. KF 4, Strasse des 17. Juni 135, 10623 Berlin, Germany.


Adsorption onto granular ferric hydroxide (GFH) with subsequent in-situ regeneration is studied as a new process for natural organic matter (NOM) removal from groundwater. Adsorbent equilibrium loadings of 10-30 mgDOC g(-1)GFH(-1) are obtained, whereas the non-adsorbable DOC fraction amounts to 1.5 mgL(-1) for all investigated groundwaters. The larger and UV-active NOM fractions (mainly fulvic acids) are well adsorbed while the smaller molecular fractions are poorly or not adsorbed. However, kinetic studies show that the smaller and medium-sized fulvic acids are removed first. The equilibrium is strongly dependent on pH but only weakly on ionic strength, pointing to ligand exchange as the dominant adsorption mechanism. With regard to NOM structure, prerequisites for adsorption onto GFH are both a minimum number of functional groups and a molecular size small enough to enter the GFH pores. NOM breakthrough curves are successfully simulated using the LDF model (homogeneous surface diffusion model (HSDM) with linear driving force approach for surface diffusion) and experimentally determined mass transfer coefficients. Regeneration of loaded GFH is possible either by use of NaOH or oxidatively by H(2)O(2). The optimal quantities and concentrations are determined.

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