Chemistry

Water Treatment using the Ferrate Iron Vi Ion



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Water treatment is the process of recycling or purifying waste water to acceptable levels for end-user consumption. In most instances, such treated water would be released to the environment. However, well-treated water can also be used in industrial activities, recreational activities as well as for drinking.

Why is it necessary to treat water?

Water for human consumption is increasingly becoming a problem in certain parts of the world and growing human demand does not help the cause to conserve ‘land water reserves’. At the same time, used or contaminated water can damage the ecological structure while it may harbor potentially infective organisms, which may give rise to water born diseases. Scarcity of the water resource, potential environmental damage and the health risks imposed by contaminated water propelled the scientific research pertaining to water treatment.

What are the methods of water treatment?

At present, methods used for water treatment include, filtration, chlorination, aeration, sedimentation, coagulation, disinfection…etc and depending on the intended use and the type of treated water, the methods used for treatment can change.

What is ferrate?

Ferrate is a novel form of iron and is given the label, iron VI and Iron V. One of the main differences between usual forms of iron and ferrates is the lack of electrons present in the outer shell of ferrates. Thus, ferrates are suppose to be highly reactive and could act as an highly reactive oxidant in most instances.

What is the use of ferrate in water treatment?

According to a research article titled, ‘Ferrates (iron(VI) and iron(V)): Environmentally friendly oxidants and disinfectants ‘, published in the 2005 March issue of ‘Journal of Water and Health’, researchers from USA, Japan and Singapore elaborates the use of Iron VI and Iron V in waste water treatment.

The results reveal that, ferrates have the ability to bind with pollutants and produce a non-toxic by product. At the same time, the reactivity of ferrates seems to be high at lower pH levels such as in the case of most contaminated industrial wastewater. Similar to other disinfectants, Iron VI could inactivate many microorganisms that can be damaging to human health.

Furthermore, researchers have also enumerated the coagulation ability of the ferrates as well. The very high reactivity of iron V as against iron VI would mean that, pollutants and organisms resistant to treatment with Iron VI could be re-treated with Iron V for achieving exceptional water treatment levels.

Another factor favorable for ferrate use as a water treatment agent is the production of a non-toxic, non-carcinogenic by product following the oxidation process.

Therefore, researchers argue that, ferrates would be able to enhance the water treatment processes several fold and could influence how waste water is recycled in the near future.

References:

An Octahedral Iron(VI) Complex - A Novel Form of Iron : Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory : summary written by Bradley Plummer

"Safe Water System", US Centers for Disease Control

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