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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Kinetics and Mechanisms of Cr(VI) Formation via the Oxidation of Cr(III) Solid Phases by Chlorine in Drinking Water.

  • Author(s): Chebeir, M
  • Liu, H
  • et al.

Hexavalent chromium Cr(VI), typically existing as the oxyanion form of CrO4(2-), is being considered for more stringent drinking water standards by regulatory agencies. Cr(VI) can be inadvertently produced via the oxidation of trivalent chromium Cr(III) solids. This study investigated the kinetics and mechanisms of Cr(III) solids oxidation by chlorine in drinking water and associated Cr(VI) formation. Batch experiments were carried out with three Cr(III) solids of environmental relevance, i.e., chromium hydroxide Cr(OH)3(s), chromium oxide Cr2O3(s), and copper chromite Cu2Cr2O5(s). Impacts of water chemical parameters including pH (6.0-8.5) and bromide concentration (0-5 mg/L) were examined. Results showed that the rapid oxidation of Cr(III) solid phases by chlorine was accompanied by Cr(VI) formation and an unexpected production of dissolved oxygen. Analysis of reaction stoichiometry indicated the existence of Cr intermediate species that promoted the autocatalytic decay of chlorine. An increase in pH modestly enhanced Cr(VI) formation due to changes of reactive Cr(III) surface hydroxo species. Bromide, a trace chemical constituent in source waters, exhibited a catalytic effect on Cr(VI) formation due to an electron shuttle mechanism between Cr(III) and chlorine and the bypass of Cr intermediate formation. The kinetics data obtained from this study suggest that the oxidation of Cr(III) solids by chlorine in water distribution systems can contribute to Cr(VI) occurrence in tap water, especially in the presence of a trace level of bromide.

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