2022 journal article

Mechanisms of orthophosphate removal from water by lanthanum carbonate and other lanthanum-containing materials


author keywords: Lanthanum containing material; Lanthanum carbonate; Phosphorus removal; Wastewater treatment; Mineral precipitation
Source: Web Of Science
Added: April 4, 2022

Removing phosphorus (P) from water and wastewater is essential for preventing eutrophication and protecting environmental quality. Lanthanum [La(III)]-containing materials can effectively and selectively remove orthophosphate (PO4) from aqueous systems, but there remains a need to better understand the underlying mechanism of PO4 removal. Our objectives were to 1) identify the mechanism of PO4 removal by La-containing materials and 2) evaluate the ability of a new material, La2(CO3)3(s), to remove PO4 from different aqueous matrices, including municipal wastewater. We determined the dominant mechanism of PO4 removal by comparing geochemical simulations with equilibrium data from batch experiments and analyzing reaction products by X-ray diffraction and scanning transmission electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectroscopy. Geochemical simulations of aqueous systems containing PO4 and La-containing materials predicted that PO4 removal occurs via precipitation of poorly soluble LaPO4(s). Results from batch experiments agreed with those obtained from geochemical simulations, and mineralogical characterization of the reaction products were consistent with PO4 removal occurring primarily by precipitation of LaPO4(s). Between pH 1.5 and 12.9, La2(CO3)3(s) selectively removed PO4 over other anions from different aqueous matrices, including treated wastewater. However, the rate of PO4 removal decreased with increasing solution pH. In comparison to other solids, such as La(OH)3(s), La2(CO3)3(s) exhibits a relatively low solubility, particularly under slightly acidic conditions. Consequently, release of La3+ into the environment can be minimized when La2(CO3)3(s) is deployed for PO4 sequestration.