Excess fluoride in drinking water is harmful to human health and therefore it needs to be removed from water before consumption. The potential of locally available mixed Mukondeni clay soils (MMCS) as a cheap adsorbent for the removal of fluoride from aqueous solution was investigated. Characterization of MMCS was done by X-ray fluorescence, X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared and Brunauer Emmett Teller. Cation exchange capacity and point of zero charge of the clays were determined using standard methods. Parameters optimized included: contact time, adsorbent dosage, initial fluoride concentration, pH and temperature. Optimization experiments were done in batch procedures. The results showed that the optimum conditions for the defluoridation of water using MMCS are 60 min, 1.5 g, 9 mg/L, 1.5/100 S/L ratios, pH of 2 and a temperature of 25 °C. The equilibrium isotherm regression parameter (R2 = 0.95) showed that the Freundlich isotherm gave a better fit than the Langmuir isotherm (R2 = 0.52) which indicates multilayer adsorption. Kinetic studies revealed that the adsorption followed pseudo second order kinetics. This study indicated that locally available MMCS are good in the defluoridation of groundwater but modification through blending with metal oxide modified clays can enhance their adsorption capacity.

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