Use of bauxite residue (red mud) as a low cost sorbent for sulfide removal in polluted water remediation

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Sulfide is an important pollutant in aqueous systems. Sulfide removal from polluted waters is required prior to discharge. Red mud (RM) is a solid waste of bauxite processing that is rich in reactive iron oxides and consequently has the potential to be used to remove sulfide from aqueous systems. A series of experiments was undertaken using raw and sintered RM to remove sulfide from waters. RM was highly efficient at sulfide removal (average 75% sulfide removal at initial concentration of ∼5 mg L−1, with 500 mg L−1 RM addition) due to both physical adsorption (high specific area) and chemical reaction (with amorphous Fe). Sintered RM, which has a lower surface area and lower mineral reactivity, was much less efficient at removing sulfide (∼20% removal under equivalent experimental conditions). Furthermore, concomitant metal release from raw RM was lower than for sintered RM during the sulfide removal process. The results showed that raw RM is a potentially suitable material for sulfide removal from polluted waters and consequently could be used as a low cost alternative treatment in certain engineering applications.

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