Characterization and Application of Activated Water Treatment Sludge for Removing Pb(II) Ions from the Water Sample

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD Student in Environmental Engineering (Environmental Pollutions), Dept. of Environment, Faculty of Environment, Damavand Branch, Islamic Azad University, Damavand, Iran

2 Assoc. Prof., Dept. of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Marine Science and Technology, North Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

3 Assist. Prof., Dept. of Environment, Faculty of Environment, Damavand Branch, Islamic Azad University, Damavand, Iran

4 Assoc. Prof., Dept. of Organic Chemistry, Faculty of Chemistry, North Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran


The problem of toxic-metal-contaminated water has become a great environmental concern and presents significant hazards to the public health and economy. In this study, drinking water treatment sludge was activated and used as an efficient, cheap and cost effective sorbent in the removal of Pb (II) ion from water samples. The prepared material was characterized by Fourier transfer infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray powder diffraction (XRD), scanning electronic microscopy (SEM), surface analysis (BET method) and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis. The effects of various parameters such as the solution pH, adsorption time, adsorbent dosage, and initial metal ion concentration upon adsorption were investigated. Equilibrium isotherm studies were carried out with different initial concentrations of Pb (II), and three models (Langmuir, Freundlich and Temkin isotherms) were utilized to analyze the equilibrium adsorption data. The best adsorption performance was obtained at the following conditions: pH of sample, 7.5; contact time, 15 min; adsorbent dosage, 0.3 g; intitial concentration of Pb (II), 20 mg/L; agitation speed, 200 rpm. The results revealed that the adsorption process obeyed the Langmuir model, with the maximum monolayer capacity (qmax) and the Langmuir constant (KL) calculated as 54.9 mg/g and 0.973 mg/L, respectively. Kinetic studies indicated that the adsorption process followed a pseudo-second-order model based on the obtained R2 values. Comparison study with the other natural adsorbents revealed that the activated sludge has the highest adsorption capacity and provides the lowest adsorption time. Desorption study exhibited that the Pb (II) ions can be desorbed from the adsorbent by 0.25 mol/L HCl solution with a recovery percentage of 98%. The results exhibited that activated sludge is an efficient and cost-effective material for the adsorption of Pb (II).


Abadin, H., Ashizawa, A., Stevens, Y., Llados, F., Diamond, G., Sage, G., et al., 2007. Toxicological Profile for Lead. Atlanta (GA): Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (US). Agency for toxic substances and disease registry (ATSDR) toxicological profiles, Georgia, USA.
Abo-El-Enein, S. A., Shebl, A. & El-Dahab, S. A. 2017. Drinking water treatment sludge as an efficient adsorbent for heavy metals removal. Applied Clay Science, 146, 343-349.
Absalan, G., Asadi, M., Kamran, S., Sheikhian, L. & Goltz, D. M. 2011. Removal of reactive red-120 and 4-(2-pyridylazoa) resorcinol from aqueous samples by Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticles using ionic liquid as modifier. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 192, 476-484.
Acemioglu, B. 2004. Removal of Fe(II) ions from aqueous solutionby Calabrian pine bark wastes. Bioresource Technol, 93, 99-102.
Afkhami, A., Shirzadmehr, A., Madrakian, T., & Bagheri, H. 2014. Improvement in the performance of a Pb2+ selective potentiometric sensor using modified core/shell SiO2/Fe3O4 nano-structure. Journal of Molecular Liquids, 199, 108-114.
Ahmad, K., Jawed, M., 2010. Kinetics, equilibrium and breakthrough studies for Fe(II) removal by wooden charcoal: a low-cost adsorbent. Desalination, 251, 137-145.
Cullen, G., Dines, A. & Kolev, S. 2014. Lead: information monograph for UK PID. International Programme on Chemical Safety, London, United Kingdom.
Ekhtiarzadeh, Z. 2002. Sludge management in Tehran water treatment plants. Pezhvak Farhang Pub., Theran, Iran. (In persian)
Fazeli, M., Soltani Sarvestani, M. R. 2006. Feasibility study of reuse of sludge from water intake of sludge of water treatment plants in irrigation of green space and agriculture (case study of treatment plants 3 and 4 of Tehran), 2nd Water Resources Management Conference. Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran.
(In persian)
Gama, E. M., Da Silva Lima, A. & Lemos, V. A. 2006. Preconcentration system for cadmium and lead determination in environmental samples using polyurethane foam/Me-BTANC. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 136, 757-762.
Jahromi, E. Z., Bidari, A., Assadi, Y., Hosseini, M. R. M. & Jamali, M. R. 2007. Dispersive liquid–liquid microextraction combined with graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry: ultra trace determination of cadmium in water samples. Analytica Chimica Acta, 585, 305-311.
Moghadam, M. R., Nasirizadeh, N., Dashti, Z. & Babanezhad, E. 2013. Removal of Fe (II) from aqueous solution using pomegranate peel carbon: equilibrium and kinetic studies. International Journal of Industrial Chemistry, 4, 1-6.
Moghaddari, M., Yousefi, F., Ghaedi, M. & Dashtian, K. 2018. A simple approach for the sonochemical loading of Au, Ag and Pd nanoparticle on functionalized MWCNT and subsequent dispersion studies for removal of organic dyes: Artificial neural network and response surface methodology studies. Ultrasonics Sonochemistry, 42, 422-433.
Mohan, D., Gupta, V. K., Srivastava, S. K. & Chander, S. 2001. Kinetics of mercury adsorption from wastewater using activated carbon derived from fertilizer waste. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, 177, 169-181.
Nageeb Rashed, M., El-Daim El Taher, M. A., Fadlalla, S. M. 2016. Adsorption of methylene blue using modified adsorbents from drinking water treatment sludge. Water Science and Technology, 74, 1885-1898.
Oymak, T., Tokalıoğlu, Ş., Yılmaz, V., Kartal, Ş. & Aydın, D. 2009. Determination of lead and cadmium in food samples by the coprecipitation method. Food Chemistry, 113, 1314-1317.
Panahi, H. A., Mottaghinejad, E., Badr, A. R. & Moniri, E. 2011. Synthesis, characterization, and application of amberlite XAD‐2‐salicylic acid‐iminodiacetic acid for lead removal from human plasma and environmental samples. Journal of Applied Polymer Science, 121, 1127-1136.
Parham, H., Pourreza, N. & Rahbar, N. 2009. Solid phase extraction of lead and cadmium using solid sulfur as a new metal extractor prior to determination by flame atomic absorption spectrometry. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 163, 588-592.
Porpino, K. K. P., Silva Barreto, M. C., Cambuim, K. B. & Salata, Toscano, A. 2011. Fe (II) adsorption on ucides cordatus crab shells. Quim Nova, 34, 928-932.
Rose, E. P. & Shameela, R. 2012. Equilibrium study of the adsorption of iron (II) ions from aqueous solution on carbons from wild jack and jambul. Advances in Applied Science Research, 3(3), 1889-1894.
Rodriguez, M. C. N. & Quezada, L. O. L. 2014. Evaluación del riesgo por ingesta de metales pesados a través del consumo de la carpa comun (cyprinus carpio) en la boquilla, Chihuahua. Congreso International De Docencia E Investigacion En Quimica, Mexico City Mexico. (In Spanish)
Siswoyo, E., Mihara, Y. & Tanaka, S. 2014. Determination of key components and adsorption capacity of a low cost adsorbent based on sludge of drinking water treatment plant to adsorb cadmium ion in water. Applied Clay Science, 97, 146-152.
Sukla, S. R., Pai, R., S., & Shendarkar, A. D. 2006. Adsorption of Ni(II), Zn(II) and Fe(II) on modified coir fibres. Separation and Purification Technology, 47, 141-147.
Tayyebian, S. M. R., Torabi, E., Najafpour, A. A., Alidadi, H. & Zazouli, M. A. 2012. Investigation of biosorption methods of chromium and cadmium heavy metals from industrial effluents using agricultural wastes (review study), Navid Now, 16, 1-14. (In persian)
Tokalıoğlu, Ş. & Kartal, Ş. 2008. Synthesis and application of a new chelating resin functionalized with salicylaldoxime for the determination of Pb (II), Ni (II), Cu (II) and Mn (II) ions in water samples by flame atomic absorption spectrometry. Microchimica Acta, 162, 87-92.
Tuzen, M., Saygi, K. O. & Soylak, M. 2008. Novel solid phase extraction procedure for gold (III) on Dowex M 4195 prior to its flame atomic absorption spectrometric determination. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 156, 591-595.
Zhao, X., Ma, J., Ma, H., Gao, D., Sun, Y. & Guo, C. 2018. Removal of polyacrylate in aqueous solution by activated sludge: characteristics and mechanisms. Journal of Cleaner Production, 178, 59-66.