Arsenic removal from drinking water using granular ferric hydroxide

  • O.S. Thirunavukkarasu
  • T. Viraraghavan
  • K.S. Subramanian


This paper examines the use of granular ferric hydroxide (GFH) to remove both arsenate [As(V)] and arsenite [As(III)] present in drinking water by conducting batch and column studies. The kinetic studies were conducted as a function of pH, and less than 5 mg/l was achieved from an initial concentration of 100 mg/l for both As(III) and As(V) with GFH at a pH of 7.6, which is in the pH range typically encountered in drinking water supplies. In the isotherm studies, the observed data fitted well with both the Freundlich and the Langmuir models. In continuous column tests (five cycles) with tap water using GFH, consistently less than 5 mg/l of arsenic was achieved in the finished water for 38 to 42 hours of column operation, where the influent had a spiked arsenic concentration of 500 mg/l. High bed volumes (1260 and 1140) up to a breakthrough concentration of 5 mg/l were achieved in the column studies. The adsorptive capacities for GFH estimated from the column studies were higher than that of activated alumina reported in the previous studies. Speciation of a natural water sample with arsenic showed the dominance of As(III) species over As(V). Batch and column studies showed that granular ferric hydroxide (GFH) can be effectively used in small water utilities to achieve less than 5 mg As/l in drinking water.

Keywords: Adsorption, Drinking water, Arsenic removal, Granular ferric hydroxide, Arsenic speciation

(WaterSA: 2003 29(2): 161-170)

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eISSN: 0378-4738