Reclaiming Heavy Metals From Wastewater Using Magnesium Oxide
Description:The electrokinetic properties of MgO have been utilized to simultaneously filter suspended solids and remove trace amounts of dissolved heavy metals from synthetic mine water. Greater than 95 pct removal of metals from influent at neutral pH containing 1 to 6 mg/L of dissolved Cd, Cu, Mn, Ni, and Zn can be routinely achieved by filtering through a granular bed of MgO at flow rates typical of rapid sand filtration (0.3 cm/s). Filtrate concentrations of most metals can be maintained below 0.1 mg/L for 160 bed volumes or more loading. The more mobile metals (those with larger solubility products) are more difficult to remove, and are strongly bonded to the MgO granules so that chemical stripping with chelating agent is required to clean the bed. Less mobile ions are easily removed by the filter and are effectively stripped by conventional filter backwashing. The fraction of metals recovered by chemically stripping the loaded MgO filters correlates to the zero points of charge of the metals. This process may be applicable to removal and recovery of trace amounts of heavy metals in mine drainage that is partly neutralized by liming. Also, since many of these metals are critical and strategic, the technique can be adapted not only to recycle process water from mineral and milling waste streams, but also to reclaim their metal values.
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