Removal of chemical contaminants from drinking water using local adsorbents in column filters

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June, 2016
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Good drinking water is essential in ensuring the health of consumers. It also enhances the quality of life of the populace. The presence of chemical contaminants like Fluoride, Nitrates, Nitrites, Iron and Manganese are naturally occurring in water sources and Phosphates, often introduced by human activities have both health and environmental effects at high concentrations in drinking water. This study targeted the removal of the above mentioned contaminants using locally synthesized adsorbents; Aluminium Oxide Coated Charcoal (AOCC), Iron Oxide Coated Sand (IOCS) and Surfactant Modified Zeolite (SMZ). The adsorbents were characterized using the X-ray Diffraction (XRD), Scanned Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Energy Dispersive X-ray (EDX) techniques. The adsorbent media were used in column experiments and effluent sampling was done at different times during the experimental run time. The effluent samples were then analysed to ascertain their concentrations using appropriate techniques. The model water used was prepared by simulating the groundwater quality of Northern Ghana along with the WHO guideline values of the contaminants in drinking water. The column experiment results showed that AOCC was highly effective in the removal of anionic contaminants except Phosphate. The AOCC removal capacities were as follows; Fluoride recorded a removal capacity of 0.6 mg/g; 23.4 mg/g Nitrate and 1.2 mg/g Nitrite. SMZ also had better removal capacity with Phosphate contaminant. SMZ recorded a removal capacity of 0.2 mg/g. IOCS adsorbent was highly effective in the removal of cationic contaminants in the column experiments. Removal capacities recorded were 0.089 mg/g and 0.073 mg/g for Iron and Manganese respectively. AOCC was a better adsorbent in the removal of Fluoride, Nitrate and Nitrite than the SMZ. SMZ was better at removing phosphate than that of the AOCC. IOCS on the other hand was an effective adsorbent in cationic contaminant (Iron and Manganese) removal. The characterization results confirmed the adsorbents as AOCC, SMZ and IOCS. Properties such as mineralogy, morphology and elemental compositions were obtained.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Civil Engineering, College of Engineering in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation.