Oxyanionic contaminants, specifically selenium and chromium(VI), were removed from solution by sorption onto gel beads formed by pretreating the biopolymer alginic acid with calcium and iron(III). The calcium-iron gel beads were found to be effective at removing selenium(IV) from solution.
Chromium(VI) removal was less effective and the rate of sorption was slower than that of selenium(IV). At an initial selenium(IV) concentration of 400 μg/L (5.1 μM), up to approximately 94% removal of selenium from solution was achieved by a 120-hour equilibration with 20 calcium-iron
beads (10 mg/L or 180 μM total iron). Optimal selenium(IV) removal and stability of the calcium-iron beads were achieved at pH 4. Selenium(IV) sorption and kinetics data were comparable with those observed previously for arsenic(V). Selenium(IV) sorption data, as a function of dissolved
concentration and iron content, were modeled. As calcium-iron beads became saturated, the extent of sorption of selenium(IV) or arsenic(V) was decreased by the presence of competing contaminant oxyanions or nonhazardous inorganic anions such as phosphate.
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