Among natural organic matter (NOM), oxyanions and metal (hydr)oxides, a complicated interaction exists in natural aquatic and terrestrial systems and in waste waters. Effects of seven types of NOM (four humic acids (HA), three fulvic acids (FA)) that vary in properties on the adsorption of oxyanions, including phosphate, arsenate and arsenite, at goethite-water interface were quantitatively studied. Results show that the adsorption of oxyanions to goethite is decreased by the presence of NOM, especially for phosphate and arsenate at low pH. In general, the effects of the three FA are similar, which are more effective than HA in reducing oxyanion adsorption at low pH (<6). Differences were observed between the four HA in their competition with oxyanions. The adsorption of phosphate, arsenate and arsenite in the presence of NOM are well described with both the NOM-CD (CD: Charge Distribution) and LCD (Ligand and Charge Distribution) model. The NOM-CD model is relatively simple to use, whereas the LCD model can better reveal different factors in the interaction, including the spatial distribution of adsorbed NOM on oxide surface. According to these two models: site density of carboxylic groups, protonation constant of carboxylic groups, and particle size of NOM are major properties of NOM determining its effect on oxyanion adsorption to oxides. At relatively low loadings, morphological change of adsorbed NOM takes place, and the degree of morphological change of adsorbed NOM depends on the particle size, site density of carboxylic groups and aromaticity of NOM. The influence of particle size on the interaction becomes more important at higher NOM loadings. The results suggested that the fixation or removal efficiency of phosphate, arsenate and arsenite with iron oxides (e.g. goethite) can be significantly decreased by the presence of NOM, especially when NOM rich in acidic and aromatic groups.
- Natural organic matter
- Surface complexation model