Transport of uranium(VI) in red soil in South China: influence of initial pH and carbonate concentration.

Author(s) Fu, H.; Ding, D.; Sui, Y.; Zhang, H.; Hu, N.; Li, F.; Dai, Z.; Li, G.; Ye, Y.; Wang, Y.
Journal Environ Sci Pollut Res Int
Date Published 2019 Nov 19

Uranium-contaminated wastewater associated with uranium (U) mining and processing inevitably releases into soil environment. In order to assess the risk of U wastewater contamination to groundwater through percolation, U adsorption and transport behavior in a typical red soil in South China was investigated through batch adsorption and column experiments, and initial pH and carbonate concentration were considered of the high-sulfate background electrolyte solution. Results demonstrated that U adsorption isotherms followed the Freundlich model. The adsorption of U to red soil significantly decreased with the decrease of the initial pH from 7 to 3 in the absence of carbonate, protonation-deprotonation reactions controlled the adsorption capacity, and lnC had a linear relationship with the equilibrium pH (pH). In the presence of carbonate, the adsorption was much greater than that in the absence of carbonate owing to the pH values buffered by carbonate, but the adsorption decreased with the increase of the carbonate concentration from 3.5 to 6.5 mM. Additionally, the breakthrough curves (BTCs) obtained by column experiments showed that large numbers of H and CO competed with the U species for adsorption sites, which resulted in BTC overshoot (C/C > 1). Numerical simulation results indicated that the BTCs at initial pH 4 and 5 could be well simulated by two-site chemical non-equilibrium model (CNEM), whereas the BTCs of varying initial carbonate concentrations were suitable for one-site CNEM. The fractions of equilibrium adsorption sites (f) seemed to correlate with the fractions of positively charged complexes of U species in solution. The values of partition coefficients (k) were lower than those measured in batch adsorption experiments, but they had the same variation trend. The values of first-order rate coefficient (ω) for all BTCs were low, representing a relatively slow equilibrium between U in the liquid and solid phases. In conclusion, the mobility of U in the red soil increased with the decrease of the initial pH and with the increase of the initial carbonate concentrations.

DOI 10.1007/s11356-019-06644-3
ISSN 1614-7499
Citation Fu H, Ding D, Sui Y, Zhang H, Hu N, Li F, et al. Transport of uranium(VI) in red soil in South China: influence of initial pH and carbonate concentration. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2019.

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