In the top layer of aerated rapid sand filtration systems, uncharged As(III) is biologically converted to charged As(V). Subsequently, the main removal mechanism for As(V) is adsorption onto oxidised, flocculated Fe(III) (hydrous ferric hydroxides; HFO). The aim of this research was to understand the interactions between As and Fe in biologically active rapid filter columns and investigate the effect of different operational modes on Fe removal to subsequently promote As removal. For this purpose, different filter media column experiments were performed using natural, aerated groundwater containing 3.4 μg/l As(III). Results show that independent of the filter media size, complete (biological) conversion of As(III), manganese, ammonium and nitrite was achieved in approximately 70 days. After ripening, enhanced As removal was achieved with a top layer of coarse media or by dosing additional Fe(III). Addition of Fe(II) did not have the same effect on As removal, potentially due to heterogeneous Fe(II) oxidation in the upper layer of the filter, attaching rapidly to the filter grain surface and thereby preventing HFO flocs to penetrate deeper into the bed. Increasing the flow rate from 1 to 4 m/h did not improve As removal and lowering the pH from 8 to 7.4, resulted in an 55% increased removal of dissolved As. Altogether it is concluded that As removal in biologically active rapid sand filters can be improved by applying coarser filter media on top, in combination with dosing Fe(III) and/or pH correction.
- Arsenite oxidation and arsenic adsorption
- Groundwater treatment
- Rapid filtration