Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Environment and Energy, Islamic Azad University, Science and Research, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Basic Sciences, Golestan University, Golestan, Iran

3 Department of Sedimentology and Lithology, Faculty of Basic Sciences, Golestan University, Golestan, Iran

4 Department of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Environment and Energy, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran


The presence of iron in groundwater, even at low concentrations, results in many problems regarding the drinking water. Iron increases the growth of chlorine-resistant microorganisms in drinking water distribution system, leading to an increase in disinfection cost, in addition to problems regarding changes in odor and taste of water. In order to remove iron from water, diverse techniques are being used including oxidation and filtration, absorption or catalytic bed filtration, ion exchange, softening, biofiltration and adsorption. One of the cheapest methods to remove iron from drinking water is adsorption by cheap minerals such as glauconite. In this study, drinking water iron removal by two mineral absorbent glauconites from Sarakhs and Maraveh Tapeh has been investigated.
Material and methods:
The natural glauconites were collected from glauconitic sandstones in Sarakhs (Neyzar formation) and Maraveh Tapeh (Aitamir formation) and were processed in the laboratory and graded in particle diameter 0.5-1.0 mm. The specific surface area and volume of the cavities of the two specimens were determined by BET analysis by nitrogen absorption method. In order to study the kinetic and equilibrium behavior of the adsorption process, iron adsorption kinetic and adsorption isotherm curves on glauconite absorbents have been determined through experimental tests. These tests were done at three pH levels (5, 7, and 9). The aqueous solutions containing 5 mg/l of iron in a volumetric flask were exposed to different amounts of the absorbent at a constant temperature (20 °C).
Results and discussion:
BET analysis as a nitrogen absorption method revealed the specific surfaces of the two glauconite samples from Sarakhs and Maraveh Tapeh as 0.999 and 2.833 m2/g, respectively. The pore volume of Sarakhs and Maraveh Tapeh glauconites were measured as 0.006 and 0.0123 cm3/g, respectively and the average pore diameter were determined 24.07 and 17.31 nm, respectively. The results indicated that as the pH increased, the iron adsorption capacity and absorption rate by the glauconite from Sarakhs and Maraveh Tapeh increased significantly. Comparing the iron adsorption of glauconites revealed that the extracted glauconite from Maraveh Tapeh had more iron adsorption capacity than that of Sarakhs, corresponding to the higher specific surface area of this absorbent. At pH 5, 7, and 9, the ultimate absorption capacity of glauconite from Maraveh Tapeh was 17.3, 11.7 and 13.9 % higher than that of Sarakhs. The kinetic model regression indicated that Hu et al. and Ritchie's models have absolutely similar behavior in describing the iron adsorption kinetics curves on glauconite absorbents. Eventually, it can be stated that the process of iron adsorption by glauconite follows the second order kinetics. The best isotherm model to describe the iron adsorption equilibrium data on glauconite are the models developed by Temkin and Davoudinejad. Accordance with Davoudinejad's model demonstrates the presence of monolayer adsorption along with heterogeneous adsorbent surface and steric hindrances for absorption. Complying with Temkin’s model indicates that absorption enthalpy is a linear function of absorbent surface loading.
Glauconite mineral absorbents extracted from Sarakhs and Maraveh Tapeh performed better than natural Zeolite and Kaolin and had similar performance to Manganese zeolite, Pyrolusite, and Pumice for iron absorption from the water. Regarding their abundance in Iran, they can be used as an affordable method to solve the problem of the presence of iron in drinking water in Iran.


  1. Alıcılar, A., Meriç G., Akkurt F. and Şendil O., 2008. Air Oxidation of Ferrous Iron in Water, Journal of International Environmental Application and Science. 3(5), 409-414.
  2. Anielak, A.M. and Arendacz, M., 2007. Iron and Manganese Removal Affects Using Zeolites, Department of Water and Sewage Technology in Technical University of Koszalin, Annual Set The Environment Protection. 9, 1-10.
  3. Ardalan S., Ebrahimi B., 2016. Production of activated carbon from Uraman Kurdistan native mastic for Fe adsorption, 3th International Conference on New Research and Achievements in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Tehran, Iran.
  4. Babe, S.L. and Kurniawan, T.A., 2003. ''Low – cost adsorbents for heavy metals uptake from contaminated water: a review''. Journal of Hazardous Mater. 97, 219-243.
  5. Bhattacharyya, K.G. and Gupta, S.S., 2008. ''Adsorption of a few heavy metals on natural and modified kaolinite and montmorillonite: A review'', Adv. Colloid Interface Science. 140, 114-131.
  6. Chalkesh Amiri, M., 2012. “Water Treatment Principles”, Arkan publication, Isfahan, pp. 161-168.
  7. Colter, A. and Mahler, R.L., 2006. Iron in Drinking Water, Washington State University Extension, Water Quality.
  8. Damangir N., 2009. “Experimental study of horizontal coarse filter to remove iron from groundwater”, M.Sc. thesis of civil engineering (water and wastewater), Faculty Civil, University of Tehran, Iran.
  9. Davoudinejad M. and Ghorbanian S. A., 2013. “Modeling of adsorption isotherm of benzoic compounds onto GAC and introducing three new isotherm models using new concept of Adsorption Effective Surface (AES)”. Academic Journals: Scientific Research and Essays. 8(46), 2263-2275.
  10. Giles C. H., MacEwan, T.H., Nakhwa, S.N. and Smith, D., 1960. "Studies in adsorption. Part XI: A system of classification of solution adsorption isotherms, and its use in diagnosis of adsorption mechanisms and in measurements of specific surface areas of solids". Journal of the Chemical Society. 10, 3973–3993.
  11. Hao OJ, Tsai CM. and Huang CP., 1987. The removal of metals and ammonium by natural glauconite, Environment International. 18, 508-515.
  12. Hao Oliver, J. and Tsai, C.M., 1987. The removal of metals and ammonium by natural glauconite, Environment International. 13(2), 203-212.
  13. Kamari J., 2015. Comparing the functions of glauconite (greensand) media and Pyrolusite media to simultaneous remove hydrogen sulfide, iron and manganese from ground water resources with the continuous flow pilot (Case Study: groundwater of Ilam city, Chenan village), Faculty of Computer, Electrical and Environment Engineering, Azad University Tehran West.
  14. Khalili S., 2016. Investigation in iron removal from groundwater by manganese oxide covered zeolite (case study: Mahmoudabad groundwater), M.Sc. thesis of Environment engineering (water and wastewater), Faculty of Computer, Electrical and Environment Engineering, Azad University Tehran West.
  15. Khezri, S.M., Rahmani, A., Samadi M.T. and Hayat Bakhsh Malayeri, V., 2012. “Evaluation of organic and inorganic compounds of iron and manganese changes with changes in temperature, pH and alkalinity in the water”, Environmental Sciences and Technology, 13 (4).
  16. Kurniawan, T.A., G. Chan, W. Lo, S. Babel, 2006. Comparisons of low-cost adsorbents for treating wastewaters laden with heavy metals''. Science of the Total Environment. 366, 409-426.
  17. Malgorzata, F. and Bandura, L., 2014. Sorption Of Heavy Metal Ions From Aqueous Solution By Glauconite, Lublin University of Technology, Nadbystrzycka; Fresenius Environmental Bulletin, No 3a, 40, 20-618.
  18. Marandi R., Shabanpour M. and Hosseinzadeh, M., 2011. Removal of heavy metals in industrial wastewater by natural zeolite, First national conference on wastewater and solid waste management in the oil and energy industries, Tehran, Iran.
  19. Nikoodel. M., 2014. Removal of typical aromatic amines from water during using one-stage process using Spectrofluorimetry with Bentonite, Journal of Water and Sustainable Development, 1 (2), 29-36. (In Persian with English abstract).
  20. Nolan, T.B., 1962. Chemistry of iron in natural water. United States Department of the Interior, Washington, U.S. Govt. Print, pp. 3-10.
  21. Ra, JS., Oh, SY., Lee, BC. and Kim, SD., 2008. The effect of suspended particles coated by humic acid on the toxicity of pharmaceuticals, estrogens, and phenolic compounds. Environment international. 34(2), 184-92.
  22. Radnia, H., Ghoreishi, A.A. and Nagafpoor, GH., 2011. Assessment of balance and synthetic Fe (II) by absorbent chitosan at constant temperature. Proceedings of 1st Conference of Refining Technology on Environment, May 26-27; Tehran, Iran.
  23. Rahmani A, Abbassi M, Isfahani IZ. 2011. Investigating Iron Removal from Water by Using of Pumice Stone. Water and Wastewater Journal. 2, 39-45. (In Persian with English abstract).
  24. Shamohammadi, S. and Isfahani, A., 2011, Removal of Manganese from Aqueous Solution by Natural Zeolite in the Presence of Iron, Chrome and Aluminum Ions, Water and Wastewater Journal. 23(1), 66-75. (In Persian with English abstract).
  25. Sohrabi, K., 2012, Investigation in iron and manganese removal from groundwater in Mazandaran province using modern methods, M.Sc. thesis of civil engineering (water and wastewater), Power and Water University of Technology, Tehran, (In Persian with English abstract).
  26. Srasraa, E. and Trabelsi-Ayedib, M., 2000, Textural properties of acid activated glauconite, Applied Clay Science, 17 (1-2), 71–84.
  27. Treybal, R.E., 1980, Mass-Transfer Operations, 3rd Edition, McGraw-Hill Book Company.
  28. Zhang Y., Zhao J., Jiang Z., Shan D. and Lu Y., 2014, Biosorption of Fe(II) and Mn(II) Ions from Aqueous Solution by Rice Husk Ash Hindawi Publishing Corporation, BioMed Research International, Article ID 973095, 10 pages.