Loughborough University
Thesis-1998-Muhammad.pdf (30.81 MB)

Removal of heavy metals by slow sand filtration

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posted on 2010-11-05, 11:02 authored by Nur Muhammad
Slow sand filters (SSFs) are probably the most effective, simplest and least expensive water treatment process. Micro-organisms and other particulate materials are effectively removed by SSFs. Considerable development has been done on SSFs with respect to particle removal, but only a few works have been reported in the context of the removal of heavy metals which are a severely toxic pollutant of surface waters. No extensive laboratory or pilot studies have been carried out to determine the performance or the mechanisms of removal of heavy metals by SSFs. This research is concerned with an experimental investigation of the removal of heavy metals from surface water by SSFs. Four laboratory scale SSFs were built and run according to standard design criteria. Removal of four common heavy metals [copper (Cu), chromium (Cr), lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd)] were monitored. The filters were fed synthetic water made from tap water mixed with settled sewage, and each filter was dosed with one of the heavy metal salts. The concentrations of Cu, Cr, Pb and Cd in the influent were selected as 10 mg/l, 100 μg/l, 60 μg/l, and 100 μg/l respectively considering their relative toxicity and WHO guidelines in drinking water. Settled sewage was added to vary the total organic carbon (TOC) of the feed water. The reduction of heavy metal concentrations were monitored at various TOCs, filtration rates and filter bed depths. The results showed that SSFs succeeded in removing heavy metals from water. The removals of Cu, Cr, Pb and Cd at the conventional flow rate and filter depth are 99.6,97.2,100 and 96.6 % respectively. The results also showed that an increase in TOC in the feed water improved metal removal while increases of flow rates caused a decrease of the removal of metals. The removal of heavy metals also decreased with a reduction in sand bed depth. The optimisation of design parameters for SSFs for the removal of heavy metals depends on the individual heavy metal and on the TOC content of the feed water. Model equations were developed for, and linear correlation was observed between each of the three control parameters and the removal of the selected metal. The removal of heavy metal by SSFs was achieved through the combination of a number of mechanisms. Settlement, adsorption to both sand and organic matter and microbial



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering


© N. Muhammad

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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