The top layer of natural rapid sand filtration was found to effectively oxidise arsenite (As(III)) in groundwater treatment. However, the oxidation pathway has not yet been identified. The aim of this study was to investigate whether naturally formed manganese oxide (MnO2), present on filter grains, could abiotically be responsible for As(III) oxidation in the top of a rapid sand filter. For this purpose As(III) oxidation with two MnO2 containing powders was investigated in aerobic water containing manganese(II) (Mn(II)), iron(II) (Fe(II)) and/or iron(III) (Fe(III)). The first MnO2 powder was a very pure - commercially available - natural MnO2 powder. The second originated from a filter sand coating, produced over 22 years in a rapid filter during aeration and filtration. Jar test experiments showed that both powders oxidised As(III). However, when applying the MnO2 in aerated, raw groundwater, As(III) removal was not enhanced compared to aeration alone. It was found that the presence of Fe(II)) and Mn(II) inhibited As(III) oxidation, as Fe(II) and Mn(II) adsorption and oxidation were preferred over As(III) on the MnO2 surface (at pH 7). Therefore it is concluded that just because MnO2 is present in a filter bed, it does not necessarily mean that MnO2 will be available to oxidise As(III). However, unlike Fe(II), the addition of Fe(III) did not hinder As(III) oxidation on the MnO2 surface; resulting in subsequent effective As(V) removal by the flocculating hydrous ferric oxides.
- As removal
- As(III) oxidation
- Natural groundwater treatment