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Artificial wetlands for arsenic removals
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Removal of metals and metalloids from contaminated water through the use of artificial or constructed wetlands is an innovative treatment alternative with a high potential for the removal of arsenic. Thus, the objective of the present study was to analyze the arsenic removal efficiency of artificial wetland prototypes in laboratory conditions. The tests were made by triplicate in piston flux systems, with a sand support system between 5mm and 8mm in diameter and a hydraulic retention time of 8 days. The As concentration in the entrance flow was 1.12mg L-1. The results show that the average concentration in the exit flow during the time of the test was of 0.12mg L-1, which corresponds to a removal efficiency of 90% in the system. Even though As concentrations in the exit flow are 10 times those permitted for human consumption, the entrance concentrations were 10 times higher than the former. Considering entrance concentrations of approximately 100 μg L-1, there is a high potential for the removal efficiency of this system to be enough to reduce the exit flow concentrations to levels appropriate for human consumption (25μg L-1-10μg L-1). These results show the great application potential of artificial wetlands for the removal of arsenic from water. They can be mainly considered for application in rural areas, due to their low maintenance costs and minimum energy requirement, within the methods for the cleaning of water and the minimization of environmental problems caused by As contamination.
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