Rapid small-scale column tests for arsenate removal in iron oxide packed bed columns

Paul Westerhoff, David Highfield, Mohammad Badruzzaman, Yeomin Yoon

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107 Scopus citations


Arsenate breakthrough in column studies with a porous granular ferric hydroxide (GFH) was investigated in model waters and groundwaters. In this study, the use of rapid small-scale column tests (RSSCTs) initially designed for simulating the removal of organic compounds by granular activated carbon was extended for arsenate adsorption onto GFH. Adsorption kinetic studies and a comparison of laboratory RSSCT performance versus pilot-scale performance suggests that proportional diffusivity (PD) RSSCT scaling approaches are more valid than constant diffusivity (CD) approaches for arsenate onto GFH. Adsorption densities from column tests (qcolumn) were calculated at the point in the breakthrough curve when arsenate equaled 10 μg/L in the column effluent. For a simulated 2.5 min empty-bed contact time (EBCT), a model water (pH=8.6) had qcolumn values of 0.99 to 1.5 mgAs/gGFH versus 0.02 to 0.28 mgAs/gGFH with a comparable pH and EBCT in a natural groundwater. The differences were attributed to the silica, phosphate, vanadium, and other adsorbable inorganics in the groundwater. At pH 7.6 to 7.8, qcolumn values from PD-RSSCTs in the three natural waters were comparable (1.5±0.3 mgAs/gGFH) and higher than CD-RSSCT qcolumn values (0.57±0.26 mgAs/gGFH) in the three natural waters. All the RSSCTs captured changes in water quality (source water and pH) and operational regimes (e.g., EBCTs) and could be used to aid in the selection and design of arsenic removal media for full-scale treatment facilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-271
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Engineering (United States)
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2005


  • Arsenic
  • Diffusion coefficient
  • Ion adsorption
  • Iron


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