Abstract

The objective of this study was to investigate the ability of cactus Opuntia ficus-indica, used as a natural flocculant in the treatment of phosphate clay as an industrial wastewater. It is a new process that has proven very promising in the removal of high turbidity from industrial effluents. The volume of clear water recovered (supernatant) is one of the characteristic features which allow us to judge the effectiveness of this bioflocculant. The following of the settling velocity on the one hand and the analysis of supernatant and sludge on the other hand allow us to compare the cactus-based flocculant effectiveness with that of a chemical flocculant (CF) of anionic polyacrylamide nature. The optimum pH required for maximum settling velocity was found to be 12. Obtained results indicated that after 900 seconds of settling, the highest volume of clear supernatant was obtained with the natural flocculant (740 mL/L), against 666 mL/L obtained with CF. Several analyses on recovered clear water (pH, turbidity, Cu, Zn, Fe, Cd and Cr) and on dry sludge (P2O5, CaO, MgO, organic C, SiO2 and Cd) are highlighted.

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