Removal of copper in an integrated sulfate reducing bioreactor- crystallization reactor system

Reyes Sierra-Alvarez, Jeremy Hollingsworth, Michael S. Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Removal of copper was investigated using an innovative water treatment system integrating a sulfidogenic bioreactor with a fluidized-bed crystallization reactor containing fine sand to facilitate the recovery of copper as a purified copper-sulfide mineral. The performance of the system was tested using a simulated semiconductor manufacturing wastewater containing high levels of Cu2+ (4-66 mg/L), sulfate, and a mixture of citrate, isopropanol, and polyethylene glycol (Mn 300). Soluble copper removal efficiencies exceeding 99% and effluent copper concentrations averaging 89 μg/L were demonstrated in the two-stage system, with near complete metal removal occurring in the crystallizer. Copper crystals deposited on sand grains were identified as covellite (CuS). The removal of organic constituents did not exceed 70% of the initial chemical oxygen demand due to incomplete degradation of isopropanol and its breakdown product (acetone). Taken as a whole, these results indicate the potential of this novel reactor configuration for the simultaneous removal of heavy metals and organic constituents. The ability of this process to recover heavy metals in a purified form makes it particularly attractive for the treatment of contaminated aqueous streams, including industrial wastewaters and acid mine drainage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1426-1431
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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