Uranium removal from ground water using zero valent iron media

James Farrell, William D. Bostick, Robert J. Jarabek, Joseph N. Fiedor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Removal of uranium from contaminated ground water using zero valent iron is currently under evaluation at several U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) facilities. Uranium removal by zero valent iron may occur via adsorption onto iron corrosion products, and by reduction to less soluble valence states by reactions with elemental iron. This research investigated the effects of water chemistry and surface precipitate buildup on the removal of soluble uranium by zero valent iron. Batch testing was performed to assess solution chemistry effects on uranium adsorption to the potential iron corrosion products, magnetite and a mixed valent amorphous iron oxide. Uranium adsorption to the simulated iron corrosion products was highly dependent on pH, and the concentration and speciation of the background electrolyte solution. Uranium removal via reduction by elemental iron closely approximated pseudo-first-order removal kinetics, despite the buildup of up to 40,000 monolayers of precipitated uranium on the iron surfaces. This indicates that the rate of uranium removal is not strongly dependent on the thickness of the adsorbed uranium layer. Short-term rates of uranium reduction were similar for all solutions tested, but long-term rates were highly dependent on water chemistry. Compared to deionized water, uranium removal rates were increased in sodium chloride containing solutions and reduced in sodium nitrate solutions. The strong influence of water chemistry on long-term reduction rates indicates that system design will require extended testing with the ground water of interest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)618-624
Number of pages7
JournalGround water
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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