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Environmental Engineering - Water Treatment

Water Treatment: Iron And Manganese Removal

   Posted On :  03.07.2016 07:09 pm

Iron and manganese in well waters occur as soluble ferrous and manganous bicarbonates. In the aeration process, the water is saturated with oxygen to promote the following reactions:




Iron and manganese in well waters occur as soluble ferrous and manganous bicarbonates. In the aeration process, the water is saturated with oxygen to promote the following reactions:

4Fe(HCO3)2 + O2 + 2H2O = 4Fe(OH)3 + 8CO2

ferrous bicarbonate        + oxygen + water = ferric hydroxide + carbon dioxide

2Mn(HCO3)2 + O= 2MnO2 + 4CO2 + 2H2O

manganese bicarbonate + oxygen = manganese dioxide + carbon dioxide + water

The oxidation products, ferric hydroxide and manganese dioxide, are insoluble. After aeration, they are removed by clarification or filtration.


Occasionally, strong chemical oxidants such as chlorine (Cl2) or potassium permanganate (KMnO4) may be used following aeration to ensure complete oxidation.


Dissolved Gas Reduction


Gases dissolved in water follow the principle that the solubility of a gas in a liquid (water) is directly proportional to the partial pressure of the gas above the liquid at equilibrium. This is known as Henry's Law and may be expressed as follows:


Ctotal  =  kP




Ctotal         =       total concentration of the gas in solution

P       =       partial pressure of the gas above the solution

k        =       a proportionality constant known as Henry's Law Constant

However, the gases frequently encountered in water treatment (with the exception of oxygen) do not behave in accordance with Henry's Law because they ionize when dissolved in water. For example:


H2O + CO2   = H+  + HCO3

water + carbon  dioxide = hydrogen  ion + bicarbonate ion

H2S = H+ + HS-

hydrogen  sulfide = hydrogen ion + hydrosulfide ion

H2O  + NH3 = NH4+ + OH-

waterammonia = ammonium  ion + hydroxide ion

Carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and ammonia are soluble in water under certain conditions to the extent of 1,700, 3,900, and 531,000 ppm, respectively. Rarely are these concentrations encountered except in certain process condensates. In a normal atmosphere, the partial pressure of each of these gases is practically zero. Consequently, the establishment of a state of equilibrium between water and air by means of aeration results in saturation of the water with nitrogen and oxygen and nearly complete removal of other gases.


As the equations above show, ionization of the gases in water is a reversible reaction. The common ion effect may be used to obtain almost complete removal of these gases by aeration. If the concentration of one of the ions on the right side of the equation is increased, the reaction is driven to the left, forming the gas. In the case of carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, hydrogen ion concentration may be increased by the addition of an acid. Bicarbonate and carbonate ions in the water will form carbon dioxide, which can be removed by aeration.


In a similar manner, an increase in hydroxyl ion concentration through the addition of caustic soda aids in the removal of ammonia.


Gas removal by aeration is achieved as the level of gas in the water approaches equilibrium with the level of the gas in the surrounding atmosphere. The process is improved by an increase in temperature, aeration time, the volume of air in contact with the water, and the surface area of water exposed to the air. As previously indicated, pH is an important consideration. The efficiency of aeration is greater where the concentration of the gas to be removed is high in the water and low in the atmosphere.




Temperature significantly affects the efficiency of air stripping processes. Therefore, these processes may not be suitable for use in colder climates. Theoretically, at 68 o F the carbon dioxide content of the water can be reduced to 0.5 ppm by aeration to equilibrium conditions. This is not always practical from an economic standpoint, and reduction of carbon dioxide to 10 ppm is normally considered satisfactory.


Although removal of free carbon dioxide increases the pH of the water and renders it less corrosive from this standpoint, aeration also results in the saturation of water with dissolved oxygen. This does not generally present a problem when original oxygen content is already high. However, in the case of a well water supply that is high in carbon dioxide but devoid of oxygen, aeration simply exchanges one corrosive gas for another.


The efficiency of aeration increases as the initial concentration of the gas to be removed increases above its equilibrium value. Therefore, with waters containing only a small amount of carbon dioxide, neutralization by alkali addition is usually more cost-effective.


The complete removal of hydrogen sulfide must be combined with pH reduction or chemical oxidation.


Nonvolatile organic compounds cannot be removed by air stripping. For example, phenols and creosols are unaffected by the aeration process alone.


Suspended matter in raw water supplies is removed by various methods to provide a water suitable for domestic purposes and most industrial requirements. The suspended matter can consist of large solids, settable by gravity alone without any external aids, and nonsettleable material, often colloidal in nature. Removal is generally accomplished by coagulation, flocculation, and sedimentation. The combination of these three processes is referred to as conventional clarification.


Coagulation is the process of destabilization by charge neutralization. Once neutralized, particles no longer repel each other and can be brought together. Coagulation is necessary for the removal of the colloidal-sized suspended matter.


Flocculation is the process of bringing together the destabilized, or "coagulated," particles to form a larger agglomeration, or "floc."


Sedimentation refers to the physical removal from suspension, or settling, that occurs once the particles have been coagulated and flocculated. Sedimentation or subsidence alone, without prior coagulation, results in the removal of only relatively coarse suspended solids.


Steps of Clarification


Finely divided particles suspended in surface water repel each other because most of the surfaces are negatively charged. The following steps in clarification are necessary for particle agglomeration:


Coagulation. Coagulation can be accomplished through the addition of inorganic salts of aluminum or iron. These inorganic salts neutralize the charge on the particles causing raw water turbidity, and also hydrolyze to form insoluble precipitates, which entrap particles.

Coagulation can also be effected by the addition of water-soluble organic polymers with numerous ionized sites for particle charge neutralization.


     Flocculation. Flocculation, the agglomeration of destabilized particles into large particles, can be enhanced by the addition of high-molecular-weight, water-soluble organic polymers. These polymers increase floc size by charged site binding and by molecular bridging.


Therefore, coagulation involves neutralizing charged particles to destabilize suspended solids. In most clarification processes, a flocculation step then follows. Flocculation starts when neutralized or entrapped particles begin to collide and fuse to form larger particles. This process can occur naturally or can be enhanced by the addition of polymeric flocculant aids.

Tags : Environmental Engineering - Water Treatment
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