Author(s): Singh SP, Ma LQ, Hendry MJ
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Abstract Immobilization of heavy metals from contaminated environments is an emerging field of interest from both resource conservation and environmental remediation points of view. This study investigated the feasibility of using phosphatic clay, a waste by-product of the phosphate mining industry, as an effective sorbent for Pb from aqueous effluents. The major parameters controlling aqueous Pb removal, viz. initial metal ion concentrations, solution pH, sorbent amounts, ionic strength and presence of both inorganic and organic ligands were evaluated using batch experiments. Results demonstrated that aqueous Pb removal efficiency of phosphatic clay is controlled mainly by dissolution of phosphatic clay associated fluoroapatite [Ca(10)(PO(4))(5)CaCO(3)(F,Cl,OH)(2)], followed by subsequent precipitation of geochemically stable pyromorphite [Pb(10)(PO(4))(6)(F,Cl,OH)(2)], which was confirmed by both X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopic (SEM) analysis. Lead removal efficiency of phosphatic clay increased with increasing pH, sorbent amount and decreasing ionic strength. It also depends on the nature of complexing ligands. Formation of insoluble calcium oxalate and lead oxalate in the presence of oxalic acid explained high uptake of Pb by phosphatic clay from aqueous solution. However, Pb sorption kinetics onto phosphatic clay were biphasic, with initially fast reactions followed by slow and continuous Pb removal reactions. The slow reactions may include surface sorption, co-precipitation and diffusion. The exceptional capability of phosphatic clay to remove aqueous Pb demonstrated its potential as a cost effective way to remediate Pb-contaminated water, soils and sediments.
This article was published in J Hazard Mater
and referenced in Journal of Pollution Effects & Control