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Can Selenium Be Removed in a Pilot Plant for Biological Iron and Manganese Removal?

Steuer, Andrea; Dippon-Deißler, Urs; Mahringer, Daniel; Ruhl, Aki Sebastian

Selenium (Se) is essential to human health, yet harmful in high doses. Of the water-soluble Se redox species, Se(IV) readily adsorbs onto iron and aluminium oxides. Se(VI), the dominant form in oxygenated waters, is more mobile and less readily adsorbed. In this study, the removal of Se(VI) by reduction with Fe(II) to Se(IV) and subsequent adsorption onto iron hydroxides is investigated in a pilot plant for biological iron and manganese removal from groundwater to investigate an economical approach for Se removal during drinking water production. While Se(IV) is removed by up to 90%, Se(VI) shows no removal over 48 h. In batch-shaking tests, the adsorption of Se(IV) and Se(VI) onto iron hydroxides with and without addition of Fe(II) or dithionite as reducing agents was studied. Se(IV) was removed to a greater extent by adsorption than Se(VI) (7% and 2.6%, respectively, at a starting concentration of 0.1 mg/L) and the addition of reducing agents resulted in no significantly higher removal of Se(VI). Reducing Se(VI) with Fe(II) or dithionite and consequent adsorption onto iron hydroxides can therefore be excluded as viable removal mechanism for Se(VI).
Published in: Water, 10.3390/w15173147, MDPI