Phosphate removal by refined aspen wood fiber treated with carboxymethyl cellulose and ferrous chloride
Biomass-based filtration media are of interest as an economical means to remove pollutants and nutrients found in stormwater runoff. Refined aspen wood fiber samples treated with iron salt solutions demonstrated limited capacities to remove (ortho)phosphate from test solutions. To provide additional sites for iron complex formation, and thereby impart a greater capacity for phosphate removal, a fiber pretreatment with an aqueous solution of a non-toxic anionic polymer, carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC), was evaluated. Problems with excessive viscosities during the screening of commercially available CMC products led to the selection of an ultra low viscosity CMC product that was still usable at a 4% concentration in water. Soxhlet extractions of chipped aspen wood and refined aspen wood fiber samples showed a higher extractives content for the refined material. Analysis of these extracts by FTIR spectroscopy suggested that the higher extractives content for the refined material resulted from the fragmentation of cell wall polymers (e.g., lignin, hemicelluloses) normally insoluble in their native states. Spectroscopic analysis of CMC and ferrous chloride treated fibers showed that the complex formed was sufficiently stable to resist removal during subsequent water washes. Equilibrium sorption data, which fit better with a Freundlich isotherm model than a Langrnuir isotherm model, showed that phosphate removal could be enhanced by the CMC pretreatment. Results suggest that the process outlined may provide a facile means to improve the phosphate removal capacity of biomass-based stormwater filtration media.