The presence of heavy metals in water is of concern due to the risk toxicity. Thus there is need for their removal for the safety of consumers. Methods applied for removal of heavy metals include adsorption, membrane filtration and co-precipitation. However, studies have revealed adsorption is highly effective technique. Most adsorbents are expensive or require extensive processing before use and hence need to explore for possible sources of inexpensive adsorbents. This research work investigated the use an algal biomass (pediastrum boryanum) as an adsorbent for removal of Lead, Cadmium and Copper in waste water in its raw and modified forms. The samples were characterized with FTIR and was confirmed a successful modification with tetramethylethlynediamine (TMEDA). Sorption parameters were optimized and the material was finally applied on real water samples. It was found that the sorption was best at lower pH values (4.2-6.8). Sorption kinetics was very high as more that 90% of the metals were removed from the solution within 30 minutes. The adsorption of copper fitted into the Langmuir adsorption isotherm indicating a monolayer binding mechanism. Cadmium and lead fitted best the Freundlich adsorption mechanism. Sorption of lead and cadmium was of pseudo-second order kinetics, confirming a multisite interaction whereas copper was pseudo-first order indicating a single site adsorption. The adsorption capacity did not improve upon modification but the stability of the material was improved and secondary pollution of leaching colour was alleviated. This implies that the modified material is suitable for application on the removal of metals from water.
Part of the book: Water Quality