IWA Publishing

Improvement of phosphorus removal by calcium addition in the iron electrocoagulation process

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Small-scale wastewater treatment plants (SWTPs) are widely used as decentralized wastewater treatment systems in sparsely populated areas of Japan. Iron electrolysis, an electrocoagulation technology, is installed in these SWTPs for phosphorus removal. Phosphorus can be removed via the formation of an insoluble compound containing phosphate and iron, such as FePO4; however, it was necessary to determine the conditions under which phosphorus can be effectively and stably removed in actual SWTPs. According to previous studies using iron compounds, improved phosphorus removal was obtained by Ca addition. It is therefore thought that calcium addition may also be effective in improving the phosphorus removal during iron electrolysis in SWTPs. It is also important to determine the chemical state of iron to understand the phosphorus removal mechanism during iron electrolysis. In this study, laboratory-scale batch experiments with the iron electrolysis method were conducted to investigate the effect of phosphorus removal using treated wastewater from actual SWTPs without or with Ca addition. The results indicated that the addition of Ca improved the phosphorus removal performance. Furthermore, phosphorus removal was inhibited in the presence of high dissolved organic carbon (DOC). The X-ray absorption fine structure measurements of the produced particulates in the experiments showed no substantial change in the chemical state of iron without or with Ca addition. The statistical analyses revealed the range of improving or inhibiting effects on phosphorus removal due to the Ca and DOC. Thus, the results of this study provided useful information pertaining to the influence of coexisting substances on phosphorus removal and the chemical state of iron in the produced particulates.

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