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Effects of nitrate on the treatment of lead contaminated groundwater by nanoscale zerovalent iron.

  • Author(s): Su, Yiming
  • Adeleye, Adeyemi S
  • Zhou, Xuefei
  • Dai, Chaomeng
  • Zhang, Weixian
  • Keller, Arturo A
  • Zhang, Yalei
  • et al.

Nanoscale zerovalent iron (nZVI) is efficient for removing Pb(2+) and nitrate from water. However, the influence of nitrate, a common groundwater anion, on Pb(2+) removal by nZVI is not well understood. In this study, we showed that under excess Fe(0) conditions (molar ratio of Fe(0)/nitrate>4), Pb(2+) ions were immobilized more quickly (<5 min) than in nitrate-free systems (∼ 15 min) due to increasing pH. With nitrate in excess (molar ratio of Fe(0)/nitrate<4), nitrate stimulated the formation of crystal PbxFe3-xO4 (ferrite), which provided additional Pb(2+) removal. However, ∼ 7% of immobilized Pb(2+) ions were released into aqueous phase within 2h due to ferrite deformation. Oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) values below -600 mV correlated with excess Fe(0) conditions (complete Pb(2+) immobilization), while ORP values ≥-475 mV characterized excess nitrate conditions (ferrite process and Pb(2+) release occurrence). This study indicates that ORP monitoring is important for proper management of nZVI-based remediation in the subsurface to avoid lead remobilization in the presence of nitrate.

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