Abstract

In-situ treatment of contaminated groundwater by means of permeable reactive barriers (PRBs) is becoming a cost-effective remediation technique. Various reactive materials that might be used in PRBs were tested in their ability to remove uranium from groundwater. Materials tested include ferric oxyhydroxides, coarse- and fine-grained zero-valent iron, aluminium-iron oxides, and zeolites. Batch tests were used to evaluate the removal efficiency of these materials. To analyse the effect of groundwater composition on the interaction between dissolved uranium and reactive materials, two types of groundwater were used, mainly differing in carbonate content and pH. Considering an equilibration time of 48 hours and initial uranium concentrations between 2.4 and 24 mg/1, finegrained zero-valent iron proved to be most effective with a uranium removal efficiency of more than 96% for carbon-rich groundwater and 99% for carbon-poor groundwater. Intermediate efficiency was observed for coarsegrained zero-valent iron and aluminium-iron oxides. Less than 10% of the dissolved uranium was adsorbed on the iron oxyhydroxides. Zeolites did not remove any uranium from solution. Results further indicated a positive correlation between dissolved inorganic carbon content and dissolved uranium at equilibrium. Because it can be easily obtained at a fairly low price, zero-valent iron is a promising material for use in PRBs.

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