Treatment of highly polluted groundwater by novel iron removal process

Sang Jun Sim, Chang Duk Kang, Jin Won Lee, Woo Sik Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The removal of ferrous iron (Fe(II)) in groundwater has been generally achieved by simple aeration, or the addition of an oxidizing agent. Aeration has been shown to be very efficient in insolubilization ferrous iron at a pH level greater than 6.5. In this study, pH was maintained over 6.5 using limestone granules under constant aeration to oxidize ferrous iron in groundwater in a limestone packed column. A sedimentation unit coupled with a membrane filtration was also developed to precipitate and filtrate the oxidized ferric compound simultaneously. Several bench-scale studies, including the effects of the limestone granule sizes, amounts and hydraulic retention time on iron removal in the limestone packed column were investigated. It was found that 550 g/L of the 7-8 mesh size limestone granules, and 20 min of hydraulic retention time in the limestone packed column, were necessary for the sufficient oxidation of 40 mg/L of iron(II) in groundwater. Long-term operation was successfully achieved in contaminated waters by removing the iron deposits on the surface of the limestone granule by continuous aeration from the bottom of the column. Periodic reverse flow helped to remove caking and fouling of membrane surface caused by the continuous filtration. Recycling of the treated water from the membrane right after reverse flow operation made possible an admissible limit of iron concentration of the treated water for drinking. The pilot-scale process was constructed and has been tested in the rural area of Korea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-38
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Environmental Science and Health - Part A Toxic/Hazardous Substances and Environmental Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Aeration
  • Filtration
  • Groundwater
  • Iron
  • Limestone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering


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