Simultaneous removal of ammonium ions and sulfamethoxazole by ozone regenerated high silica zeolites

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Continuous development of industry and civilization has led to changes in composition, texture and toxicity of waste water due to the wide range of pollutants being present. Considering that the conventional wastewater treatment methods are insufficient for removing micropollutants and nutrients to a high level, other, alternative, treatment methods should be used to polish wastewater treatment plant effluents. In this study we developed an alternative, polishing concept for removal of ammonium and micropollutants that could potentially be incorporated in existing wastewater treatment plants. We demonstrated a method to use high silica MOR zeolite granules as an adsorbent for simultaneous removal of the micropollutant sulfamethoxazole (SMX) and ammonium (NH4+) ions from aqueous solutions. At an initial NH4+ concentration of 10 mg/L the high silica zeolite mordenite (MOR) granules removed 0.42 mg/g of NH4+, similar to the removal obtained by commonly used natural zeolite Zeolita (0.44 mg/g). However, at higher NH4+ concentrations the Zeolita performed better. In addition, the Langmuir isotherm model showed a higher maximum adsorption capacity of Zeolita (qmax, 4.08 mg/g), which was about two times higher than that of MOR (2.11). The adsorption capacity of MOR towards SMX, at both low (2 µg/L) and high (50 mg/L) initial concentrations, was high and even increased in the presence of NH4+ ions. The used adsorbent could be regenerated with ozone and reused in consecutive adsorption–regeneration cycles with marginal decrease in the total adsorption capacity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number116472
Number of pages9
JournalWater Research
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Ammonium removal
  • High silica zeolites
  • Ozone regeneration
  • Sulfamethoxazole


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