Arsenic Removal from Water Using Various Adsorbents: Magnetic Ion Exchange Resins, Hydrous Ion Oxide Particles, Granular Ferric Hydroxide, Activated Alumina, Sulfur Modified Iron, and Iron Oxide-Coated Microsand

Sinha, Shahnawaz;Amy, Gary;Yoon, Yeo-Min;Her, Nam-Guk

  • Received : 2011.02.25
  • Accepted : 2011.08.08
  • Published : 2011.09.30


The equilibrium and kinetic adsorption of arsenic on six different adsorbents were investigated with one synthetic and four natural types (two surface and two ground) of water. The adsorbents tested included magnetic ion exchange resins (MIEX), hydrous ion oxide particles (HIOPs), granular ferric hydroxide (GFH), activated alumina (AA), sulfur modified iron (SMI), and iron oxide-coated microsand (IOC-M), which have different physicochemical properties (shape, charge, surface area, size, and metal content). The results showed that adsorption equilibriums were achieved within a contact period of 20 min. The optimal doses of adsorbents determined for a given equilibrium concentration of $C_{eq}=10\;{\mu}g/L$ were 500 mg/L for AA and GFH, 520-1,300 mg/L for MIEX, 1,200 mg/L for HIOPs, 2,500 mg/L for SMI, and 7,500 mg/L for IOC-M at a contact time of 60 min. At these optimal doses, the rate constants of the adsorbents were 3.9, 2.6, 2.5, 1.9, 1.8, and 1.6 1/hr for HIOPs, AA, GFH, MIEX, SMI, and IOC-M, respectively. The presence of silicate significantly reduced the arsenic removal efficiency of HIOPs, AA, and GFH, presumably due to the decrease in chemical binding affinity of arsenic in the presence of silicate. Additional experiments with natural types of water showed that, with the exception of IOC-M, the adsorbents had lower adsorption capacities in ground water than with surface and deionized water, in which the adsorption capacities decreased by approximately 60-95%.


Adsorbents;Arsenic removal;Ion effect;Sorption;Water treatment


  1. US Environmental Protection Agency. Arsenic in drinking water [Internet]. Washington, DC: US Environmental Protection Agency; c2011 [cited 2011 Jul 22]. Available from:
  2. Hug SJ, Leupin O. Iron-catalyzed oxidation of arsenic(III) by oxygen and by hydrogen peroxide: pH-dependent formation of oxidants in the Fenton reaction. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2003;37:2734-2742.
  3. Leupin OX, Hug SJ. Oxidation and removal of arsenic (III) from aerated groundwater by filtration through sand and zero-valent iron. Water Res. 2005;39:1729-1740.
  4. Bose P, Sharma A. Role of iron in controlling speciation and mobilization of arsenic in subsurface environment. Water Res. 2002;36:4916-4926.
  5. Masue Y, Loeppert RH, Kramer TA. Arsenate and arsenite adsorption and desorption behavior on coprecipitated aluminum:iron hydroxides. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2007;41:837-842.
  6. Banerjee K, Amy GL, Prevost M, et al. Kinetic and thermodynamic aspects of adsorption of arsenic onto granular ferric hydroxide (GFH). Water Res. 2008;42:3371-3378.
  7. Sperlich A, Werner A, Genz A, Amy G, Worch E, Jekel M. Breakthrough behavior of granular ferric hydroxide (GFH) fixed-bed adsorption filters: modeling and experimental approaches. Water Res. 2005;39:1190-1198.
  8. Brandhuber P, Amy G. Arsenic removal by a charged ultrafiltration membrane--influences of membrane operating conditions and water quality on arsenic rejection. Desalination 2001;140:1-14.
  9. Yoon J, Amy G, Chung J, Sohn J, Yoon Y. Removal of toxic ions (chromate, arsenate, and perchlorate) using reverse osmosis, nanofiltration, and ultrafiltration membranes. Chemosphere 2009;77:228-235.
  10. Singer PC, Bilyk K. Enhanced coagulation using a magnetic ion exchange resin. Water Res. 2002;36:4009-4022.
  11. Gupta K, Ghosh UC. Arsenic removal using hydrous nanostructure iron(III)-titanium(IV) binary mixed oxide from aqueous solution. J. Hazard. Mater. 2009;161:884-892.
  12. Gupta K, Saha S, Ghosh UC. Synthesis and characterization of nanostructure hydrous iron-titanium binary mixed oxide for arsenic sorption. J. Nanopart. Res. 2008;10:1361-1368.
  13. Waychunas GA, Kim CS, Banfield JF. Nanoparticulate iron oxide minerals in soils and sediments: unique properties and contaminant scavenging mechanisms. J. Nanopart. Res. 2005;7:409-433.
  14. Westerhoff P, Highfield D, Badruzzaman M, Yoon Y. Rapid small-scale column tests for arsenate removal in iron oxide packed bed columns. J. Environ. Eng. 2005;131:262-271.
  15. Driehaus W, Jekel M, Hildebrandt U. Granular ferric hydroxide--a new adsorbent for the removal of arsenic from natural water. J. Water Supply Res. Technol. AQUA 1998;47:30-35.
  16. Makris KC, Sarkar D, Datta R. Evaluating a drinking-water waste by-product as a novel sorbent for arsenic. Chemosphere 2006;64:730-741.
  17. Lin TF, Wu JK. Adsorption of arsenite and arsenate within activated alumina grains: equilibrium and kinetics. Water Res. 2001;35:2049-2057.
  18. Vaishya RC, Gupta SK. Modeling arsenic(V) removal from water by sulfate modified iron-oxide coated sand (SMIOCS). Sep. Sci. Technol. 2004;39:645-666.
  19. Vaishya RC, Gupta SK. Arsenic(V) removal by sulfate modified iron oxide-coated sand (SMIOCS) in a fixed bed column. Water Qual. Res. J. Can. 2006;41:157-163.
  20. Benjamin MM, Sletten RS, Bailey RP, Bennett T. Sorption and filtration of metals using iron-oxide-coated sand. Water Res. 1996;30:2609-2620.
  21. Chang Y, Li CW, Benjamin MM. Iron oxide-coated media for NOM sorption and particulate filtration. J. Am. Water Works Assoc. 1997;89:100-113.
  22. Eaton AD, Clesceri LS, Greenberg AE, American Public Health Association, American Water Works Association, Water Environment Federation. Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater. 20th ed. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association; 1998.
  23. Ford RG. Rates of hydrous ferric oxide crystallization and the influence on coprecipitated arsenate. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2002;36:2459-2463.
  24. Dixit S, Hering JG. Comparison of arsenic(V) and arsenic(III) sorption onto iron oxide minerals: implications for arsenic mobility. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2003;37:4182-4189.
  25. Sherman DM, Randall SR. Surface complexation of arsenic(V) to iron(III) (hydr)oxides: structural mechanism from ab initio molecular geometries and EXAFS spectroscopy. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 2003;67:4223-4230.
  26. Chiew H, Sampson ML, Huch S, Ken S, Bostick BC. Effect of groundwater iron and phosphate on the efficacy of arsenic removal by iron-amended biosand filters. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2009;43:6295-6300.
  27. Meng X, Bang S, Korfiatis GP. Effects of silicate, sulfate, and carbonate on arsenic removal by ferric chloride. Water Res. 2000;34:1255-1261.
  28. Roberts LC, Hug SJ, Ruettimann T, Billah MM, Khan AW, Rahman MT. Arsenic removal with iron(II) and iron(III) in waters with high silicate and phosphate concentrations. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2003;38:307-315.
  29. Giasuddin ABM, Kanel SR, Choi H. Adsorption of humic acid onto nanoscale zerovalent iron and its effect on arsenic removal. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2007;41:2022-2027.
  30. Goyne KW, Zimmerman AR, Newalkar BL, Komarneni S, Brantley SL, Chorover J. Surface charge of variable porosity $Al_2O_3(s)\;and\;SiO_2(s)$ adsorbents. J. Porous Mater. 2002;9:243-256.
  31. Clifford JD. Ion exchange and inorganic adsorption. In: Letterman RD, American Water Works Association, eds. Water quality and treatment: a handbook of community water supplies. 5th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 1999.

Cited by

  1. Kinetics and Thermodynamics of Sorption for As(V) on the Porous Biomorph-Genetic Composite of α-Fe2O3/Fe3O4/C with Eucalyptus Wood Hierarchical Microstructure vol.224, pp.6, 2013,
  2. A New-Generation Asymmetric Multi-Bore Hollow Fiber Membrane for Sustainable Water Production via Vacuum Membrane Distillation vol.47, pp.12, 2013,
  3. Synthesis and Characterization of Novel Epoxy Geopolymer Hybrid Composites vol.6, pp.9, 2013,
  4. Magnetite nanoparticles coated sand for arsenic removal from drinking water vol.75, pp.5, 2016,
  5. Review of MXenes as new nanomaterials for energy storage/delivery and selected environmental applications pp.1998-0000, 2018,