Removal of Arsenic from Wastewaters by Airlift Electrocoagulation: Part 3: Copper Smelter Wastewater Treatment

H.K. Hansen, Lisbeth M. Ottosen

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The arsenic content in wastewater is of major concern for copper smelters. A typical complex wastewater treatment is needed with a combination of chemical and physical processes. Electrocoagulation (EC) has shown its potential for arsenic removal due to the formation of ferric hydroxide-arsenate precipitates. This work evaluates the feasibility of EC as a treatment process at various stages during conventional copper smelter wastewater treatment - with a focus on arsenic. The reactor used is a batch airlift electrocoagulator. The results showed that raw copper smelter wastewater was difficult to treat for arsenic and heavy metals with EC, mainly due to the very low pH. On the other hand, after a preliminary Ca(OH)2 treatment for sulphate and heavy metal removal, arsenic could be removed totally by EC. In addition, EC could also be applied as a final remediation control tool for arsenic since the national threshold value for wastewater discharge could rapidly be reached when the conventional method did not clean the wastewater sufficiently.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSeparation Science and Technology
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1326-1330
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • iron electrodes
  • airlift reactor
  • current density
  • heavy metals
  • electric field

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