Selective removal of arsenate from drinking water using a polymeric ligand exchanger.


An B, Steinwinder TR, Zhao D. Selective removal of arsenate from drinking water using a polymeric ligand exchanger. Water Research 2005;39(20):4993-5004.


The new maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 10 μg/L for arsenic in the US drinking water will take effect on January 22, 2006. The compliance cost is estimated to be ~$ 600 million per year using current treatment technologies. This research aims to develop an innovative ion exchange process that may help water utilities comply with the new MCL in a more cost-effective manner. A polymeric ligand exchanger (PLE) was prepared by loading Cu2+ to a commercially available chelating ion exchange resin. Results from batch and column experiments indicated that the PLE offered unusually high selectivity for arsenate over other ubiquitous anions such as sulfate, bicarbonate and chloride. The average binary arsenate/sulfate separation factor for the PLE was determined to be 12, which were over two orders of magnitude greater than that (0.1–0.2) for commercial strong-base anion (SBA) exchangers. Because of the enhanced arsenate selectivity, the PLE was able to treat ~10 times more bed volumes (BVs) of water than commonly used SBA resins. The PLE can operate optimally in the neutral pH range (6.0–8.0). The exhausted PLE can be regenerated highly efficiently. More than 95% arsenate capacity can be recovered using ~22 BVs of 4% (w/w) NaCl at pH 9.1, and the regenerated PLE can be reused without any capacity drop. Upon treatment using FeCl3, the spent brine was recovered and reused for regeneration, which may cut down the regenerant need and reduces the volume of process waste residuals. The PLE can be used as a highly selective and reusable sorbent for removal of arsenate from drinking water.