Nitrate removal from groundwater using modified natural zeolite

Mike Masukume, Maurice S. Onyango, Aoyi Ochieng, Fred Otieno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present work was aimed at developing a cost effective, efficient and user friendly adsorption media for nitrate removal from water, surfactant modified clinoptilolite was evaluated as a potential adsorption media for this purpose. The effects of surfactant
loading, adsorbent dosage and temperature on the adsorption process were investigated.
Modification of the zeolite resulted in a significant increase in the adsorption capacity of the adsorbent. An increase in adsorbent dosage resulted in a corresponding increase in
the percentage removal of nitrate from water. Column study and breakthrough analysis
were carried out to get an understanding of the effects of inlet flow rate, adsorbent mass,
initial concentration and column diameter on the adsorption of nitrates onto surfactant modified natural clinoptilolite in a fixed bed column. All the process variables save for changes in column diameter were found to have significant impact upon the adsorption of nitrates in a fixed bed column. Within the studied flow rate range, an optimum breakthrough and exhaustion points were found at a flow rate of 5ml/min. Results suggest that surfactant modified zeolite is a potential material for nitrate removal from water and hence further tests to explore its robustness are necessary.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalWater SA
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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