Ambient Iron-Mediated Aeration (IMA) for Water Reuse

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Global water shortages caused by rapidly expanding population, escalating water consumption, and dwindling water reserves have rendered water reuse a strategically significant approach to meet current and future water demand. This study is the first to our knowledge to evaluate the technical feasibility of iron-mediated aeration (IMA), an innovative, potentially economical, holistic, oxidizing co-precipitation process operating at room temperature, atmospheric pressure, and neutral pH, for water reuse. In the IMA process, dissolved oxygen (O2) was continuously activated by zero-valent iron (Fe0) to produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) at ambient pH, temperature, and pressure. Concurrently, iron sludge was generated as a result of iron corrosion. Bench-scale tests were conducted to study the performance of IMA for treatment of secondary effluent, natural surface water, and simulated contaminated water. The following removal efficiencies were achieved: 82.2% glyoxylic acid, ∼100% formaldehyde as an oxidation product of glyoxylic acid, 94% of Ca2+ and associated alkalinity, 44% of chemical oxygen demand (COD), 26% of electrical conductivity (EC), 98% of di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP), 80% of 17β-estradiol (E2), 45% of total nitrogen (TN), 96% of total phosphorus (TP), 99.8% of total Cr, >90% of total Ni, 99% of color, 3.2 log removal of total coliform, and 2.4 log removal of E. Coli. Removal was attributed principally to chemical oxidation, precipitation, co-precipitation, coagulation, adsorption, and air stripping concurrently occurring during the IMA treatment. Results suggest that IMA is a promising treatment technology for water reuse.



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