The Sequestration of Heavy Metals Contaminating the Wonderfonteinspruit Catchment Area using Natural Zeolite
For more than 120 years, gold mining formed the
backbone the South Africa-s economy. The consequence of mine
closure was observed in large-scale land degradation and widespread
pollution of surface water and groundwater. This paper investigates
the feasibility of using natural zeolite in removing heavy metals
contaminating the Wonderfonteinspruit Catchment Area (WCA), a
water stream with high levels of heavy metals and radionuclide
pollution. Batch experiments were conducted to study the adsorption
behavior of natural zeolite with respect to Fe2+, Mn2+, Ni2+, and Zn2+.
The data was analysed using the Langmuir and Freudlich isotherms.
Langmuir was found to correlate the adsorption of Fe2+, Mn2+, Ni2+,
and Zn2+ better, with the adsorption capacity of 11.9 mg/g, 1.2 mg/g,
1.3 mg/g, and 14.7 mg/g, respectively. Two kinetic models namely,
pseudo-first order and pseudo second order were also tested to fit the
data. Pseudo-second order equation was found to be the best fit for
the adsorption of heavy metals by natural zeolite. Zeolite
functionalization with humic acid increased its uptake ability.
gold-mining, natural zeolites, water pollution, WestRand.