Recovery of Alum Sludge by using Membrane-Based Electrochemical Process
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Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember
Department of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Civil, Planning, and Geo-Engineering, Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember, Kampus ITS Sukolilo, Surabaya, 60111, Indonesia
Arseto Yekti Bagastyo   

Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember
Publication date: 2020-08-01
J. Ecol. Eng. 2020; 21(6):237–247
The use of aluminum sulfate (Al2SO4) coagulant in water treatment plants generates large amount of sludge residues containing the alum hydroxide precipitates and organic matter. Due to its amphoteric characteristic, this sludge by-product offers alum coagulant recovery by using electrochemical process, before safe disposal to the environment. This study is aimed at evaluating the efficiency of membrane-based electrochemical processes to recover aluminum from the filtrate of the acidified sludge. The dried alum sludge was acidified using sulfuric acid at pH 3, and then centrifuged to obtain the filtrate. Organic content of the filtrate was measured by means of Total Organic Carbon (TOC) and Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), i.e., 295.8 mg/L and 9,666.7±942.81 mg/L, respectively. In addition, the concentration of Al, Fe, Cu, and Cr was 1,194 mg/L, 515 mg/L, 0.559 mg/L, and 0.217 mg/L, respectively. The two-compartment electrochemical reactor was separated by using Cation Exchange Membrane (CEM) and Anion Exchange Membrane (AEM), and operated in a batch system for 10 hours with an electrical current of 300 mA. The results showed that the use of CEM in electrolysis with the electrodes distances of 1 cm increased the aluminum recovery up to 66.74% with the TOC removal of 24.04% compared to the use of AEM. An electrochemical process using CEM can be suggested to obtain organic-free recovery stream containing higher recovery of alum.