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Development of simple removal units for the treatment of groundwaters contaminated with arsenic or uranium


Groundwater serves as the main source of drinking water in many parts around the world. Increased groundwater utilization has caused several health issues, due to the presence of toxic and carcinogenic inorganic pollutants. Of the most hazardous inorganic pollutants found in ground waters are arsenic and uranium and elevated concentrations of these metals have been detected in several regions in Europe and in the rest of the world. Almost all violations of the maximum admissible concentrations of toxic meta ls have been observed in small towns with a population less than 1000 people. Several methods have been developed for the removal of arsenic and uranium, however most methods are designed for large municipal treatment systems. The objective of the proposed project is the development of sustainable and economic simple removal units, applicable to household and community level and to establish general criteria for the choice of best treatment options, even under the most difficult cases. Abundant Fe(O) will b e used as source of Fe(II), coupled with filter columns with glass or polymer beads and bacteria. In addition to the development of removal units, our aim is to improve the understanding of the removal mechanisms. This will be achieved by investigating the sorption and removal as a function of several physicochemical parameters as well as by the use of modern spectroscopic techniques and computer modelling. Characterisation of affected groundwaters comprises also a goal of our research. In the beginning of the investigations, artificial groundwater will be used. Progressively, the developed methods will be applied to treat groundwaters in affected regions in Northern Greece, where both uranium and arsenic have been detected. The execution of the project, in an Institute optimized to the applicants particular needs will enable him to improve his overall academic skills and would be beneficial for the development of an independent academic career.

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