Comparison of Granular Activated Carbon, Natural Clinoptilolite Zeolite, and Anthracite Packed Columns in Removing Mercury from Drinking Water

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assist. Prof. of Environmental Health Eng., Faculty of Public Health and Center of Health Research, Hamedan University of Medical Sciences

2 Grad. Student of Environmental Health, Faculty of Public Health, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences

3 Faculty Member of Public Health and Center of Health Research, Sabzevar University of Medical Sciences


Development of effective methods for the removal of such pollutants as heavy metals (e.g., mercury) from surface and ground water resources introduced by municipal and industrial wastewaters seems to be inevitable, especially in the face of the importance of water reuse in combating water shortages, limited availability of water resources, and imminent risks of a water crisis in Iran. A number of methods are already available for the removal of mercury from water resources. However, these techniques must be investigated for their practicability and economy, in addition to their not only effectiveness. In this research, granular activated carbon, natural zeolite, and anthracite packed-columns were investigated as cheap and effective adsorbents for the removal of mercury. Moreover, the effects of changes in pH (6-8), influent mercury concentrations (0.25, 0.5, 0.75, and 1 ppm), contact time (0.5, 1, 2, 3 hr) were investigated. Mercury concentration in the samples was determined using a ditizon indicator and spectrophotometry at 492 nm. Results showed that decreasing influent mercury concentration from 1 ppm to 0.25 ppm (under constant conditions) increased the removal efficiencies of anthracite, granular activated carbon, and zeolite columns from22%, 63%, and 55% to 28%, 72%, and 64%, respectively. Increasing contact time from 0.5 hr to 3 hr caused the removal efficiencies of these columns to increase from 22%, 56%, and 54% to 42%, 86%, and 82%, respectively. Also, increasing pH level led to increased removal efficiencies of the studied columns. It was found that contact time played a more effective role in enhancing mercury removal efficiency in the granular activated carbon column than in the other two columns. The ranges of mercury removal efficiency obtained for the granular activated carbon, natural zeolite, and anthracite columns under various conditions were (51%-92%), (42%-88%), and (16%-52%), respectively. Based on these results, granular activated carbon could be recommended as an effective and cheap adsorbent for the removal of mercury from drinking water resources. 


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