Reduction of Copper, Iron, and Lead Content in Laboratory Wastewater Using Zinc Oxide Photocatalyst under Solar Irradiation
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Chemical Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Sriwijaya, Jl. Raya Palembang – Prabumulih Km. 32 Indralaya, Ogan Ilir 30662, South Sumatera, Indonesia
Doctor of Phylosophy Chemical Engineering Program, Universiti Kuala Lumpur, Branch Campus Malaysian Institute of Chemical and BioEngineering Technology, Alor Gajah 78000, Melaka, Malaysia
Corresponding author
Tuty Emilia Agustina   

Universitas Sriwijaya
J. Ecol. Eng. 2022; 23(10):107-115
Heavy metal is a type of metal that has a high density and high toxicity when consumed by living things, especially humans. To prevent the impact of environmental pollution, optimal handling of wastewater containing heavy metals is required, including the wastewater from laboratories. This research aimed to study the effect of pH, catalyst dose, and irradiation time on the reduction of Copper (Cu), Iron (Fe), and Lead (Pb) heavy metals and their application to laboratory wastewater treatment. Among the Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOPs) methods, photocatalysis was chosen to reduce the level of Cu, Fe, and Pb heavy metals where ZnO is used as a photocatalyst and the sunlight as a light source. To determine the effect of pH, catalyst dose, and time on the reduction of heavy metal levels, firstly, this research used synthetic the wastewater containing Cu, Fe, or Pb heavy metals. On the basis of the experimental results, it is concluded that the pH value, catalyst dose, and time affect the photocatalytic process, decreasing the levels of Cu, Fe, and Pb metals. The optimum pH value obtained for Cu was at pH 7-8, for Fe it was at pH 6, and for Pb it was at pH 8; in turn, the metal removal percentages were 99.46%, 99.91%, and 99.70%, respectively. In the photocatalysis of synthetic wastewater, high removal percentage of more than 99% was achieved by using 0.1 g/L catalyst. The optimum decrease of metals occurred in the first 15 minutes of solar irradiation where the removal percentage was close to 100%. In this study, the application of ZnO photocatalyst under solar irradiation can reduce the heavy metals content in the laboratory wastewater by almost 100%, which meets the environmental quality standard for Cu, Fe, and Pb.
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