Zero-Valent Iron Decolorization of the Anthraquinone Dye Reactive Blue 4 and Biodegradation Assessment of its Decolorization Products
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Anthraquinone dyes constitute the second largest class of textile dyes, and are used extensively in the textile industry. A high fraction of the initial reactive dye mass used in the dyeing process remains in the spent dyebath. Reactive dyes are not readily removed by typical wastewater treatment processes and the high salt concentration typical of reactive dyeing further complicates the management of spent reactive dyebaths. Investigation of the reductive transformation of reactive anthraquinone dyes and their decolorization products has been very limited. Additionally, very limited research has been conducted on the decolorization of spent reactive dyebaths. Research was conducted to investigate the key operational parameters of batch and continuous-flow ZVI decolorization of a reactive anthraquinone dye, Reactive Blue 4 (RB4), under anoxic conditions, as well as the potential for the biodegradation of its decolorization products in a halophilic culture under aerobic conditions. The effect of two operational parameters, such as mixing intensity and initial dye concentration, on the ZVI batch decolorization kinetics indicates that ZVI decolorization of RB4 is a surface-catalyzed, mass transfer-limited process. The high salt and base concentrations enhanced the rate of RB4 decolorization. Based on parameters such as porosity, hydraulic conductivity, pore water velocity, and dispersion coefficient, non-ideal transport characteristics were observed in a continuous-flow ZVI column. The results of a long-term continuous-flow ZVI decolorization kinetics demonstrated that continuous-flow ZVI decolorization is feasible. However, column porosity losses and a shift of reaction kinetics occur in long-term column operation. ZVI decolorization of RB4 was successfully described with a pseudo first-order or a site saturation model. Lastly, the RB4 decolorization products generated by ZVI treatment had no inhibitory effect on the halophilic culture. However, biodegradation and/or mineralization of RB4 decolorization products was not observed after a long-term incubation of the culture. This research demonstrated the feasibility of ZVI decolorization of reactive anthraquinone dyes, which will help in the development of a continuous-flow, dyebath decolorization process and the possible reuse of the renovated dyebath in the dyeing operation. Such a system could lead to substantial reduction of water usage, as well as a decrease of salt and dye discharges.