Journal of environmental management

Treatment of contaminated greywater using pelletised mine water sludge.

PMID 28314195


Precipitated sludge (ochre) obtained from a mine water treatment plant was considered as an adsorbent substance for pollutants, since ochre is relatively free from problematic levels of toxic elements, which could impair on the quality of water to be treated. Artificially created ochre pellets from mixing Portland cement with raw ochre sludge were utilised to remediate either high (HC) or low (LC) contaminated synthetic greywater (SGW) in mesocosm-scale stabilisation ponds at 2-day and 7-day contact times under real weather conditions in Salford. After a specific retention time, treated SGW was agitated before sampling to evaluate pollutant removal mechanisms (other than sedimentation) such as adsorption by ochre pellets, before replacing the treated water with new inflow SGW. The results showed that cement-ochre pellets have a high ability to adsorb ortho-phosphate-phosphorous (PO4-P) significantly (p < 0.05) by 70.7% and 56.0% at 7-day contact time for HC-SGW and LC-SGW, respectively. After the experiment, an analysis revealed that elements such as boron (B), cadmium (Cd), magnesium (Mg), manganese (Mn), nickel (Ni) and zinc (Zn) accumulated significantly (p < 0.05) within the ochre pellets. The notable accumulation of Cd within ochre pellets reflects the significant (p < 0.05) remediation of greywater during the first 35 and 20 successive times of treatment for HC-SGW at 2- and 7-day contact times, respectively. Cadmium was still adsorbed significantly (p < 0.05) during the treatment of LC-SGW. However, the calcium (Ca) content decreased significantly (p < 0.05) within ochre pellets treating both types of greywaters due to mobilisation. The corresponding increases of Ca in greywater were significant (p < 0.05).