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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 34 No. 3, p. 816-824
    Received: Aug 9, 2004

    * Corresponding author(s): blaisjf@ete.inrs.ca
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Bioproduction of Ferric Sulfate Used during Heavy Metals Removal from Sewage Sludge

  1. Patrick Drogui,
  2. Guy Mercier and
  3. Jean-François Blais *
  1. Institut National de la recherche scientifique (INRS-Eau, Terre et Environnement), 490, rue de la Couronne, Québec, QC, Canada G1K 9A9


Toxic metals removal from wastewater sewage sludge can be achieved through microbial processes involving Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans The oxidation of ferrous ions by A. ferrooxidans, cultured in sewage sludge filtrate, was studied in both batch and continuous flow stirred tank reactors. Sewage sludge filtrate containing natural nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen) was recovered as effluent following the dehydration of a primary and secondary sludge mixture. Batch and continuous flow stirred tank reactor tests demonstrated that A. ferrooxidans were able to grow and completely oxidize ferrous iron in a culture medium containing more than 80% (v v−1) sewage sludge filtrate with 10 g Fe(II) L−1 added. Toxic levels were reached when total organic carbon in the sewage sludge filtrate exceeded 250 mg L−1 The ferric iron solution produced in the sludge filtrate by A. ferrooxidans was used to solubilize heavy metals in primary and secondary sludge. The solubilization of Cu, Cr, and Zn yielded 71, 49, and 80%, respectively. This is comparable with the yield percentages obtained using a FeCl3 solution. The cost of treating wastewater sewage sludge by bioproducing a ferric ion solution from sewage sludge is three times less expensive than the conventional method requiring a commercial ferric chloride solution.

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