Chromium(VI) reduction kinetics by zero-valent iron in moderately hard water with humic acid: Iron dissolution and humic acid adsorption

Tongzhou Liu, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Irene M C Lo

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

154 Citations (Scopus)


In zerovalent iron treatment systems, the presence of multiple solution components may impose combined effects that differ from corresponding individual effects. The copresence of humic acid and hardness (Ca2+/Mg 2+) was found to influence Cr(VI) reduction by Fe0 and iron dissolution in a way different from their respective presence in batch kinetics experiments with synthetic groundwater at initial pH 6 and 9.5. Cr(VI) reduction rate constants (kobs) were slightly inhibited by humic acid adsorption on iron filings (decreases of 7-9% and 10-12% in the presence of humic acid alone and together with hardness, respectively). The total amount of dissolved Fe steadily increased to 25 mg L-1 in the presence of humic acid alone because the formation of soluble Fe-humate complexes appeared to suppress iron precipitation. Substantial amounts of soluble and colloidal Fe-humate complexes in groundwater may arouse aesthetic and safety concerns in groundwater use. In contrast, the coexistence of humic acid and Ca 2+/Mg2+ significantly promoted aggregation of humic acid and metal hydrolyzed species, as indicated by XPS and TEM analyses, which remained nondissolved (>0.45 μm) in solution. These metal-humate aggregates may impose long-term impacts on PRBs in subsurface settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2092-2098
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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