The feasibility of using zero-valent iron (Fe0) powder to remediate nitrate-contaminated water was studied using bench-scale batch reactors. Operational parameters, such as Fe0 dosage (w/v), initial concentration of nitrate-nitrogen, pH, and the use of an organic buffer (HEPES) were studied, specifically focusing on the effects of pH and the addition of HEPES on nitrate transformation using zero-valent iron powder. Nitrate-nitrogen was removed by 94% when 0.01M of HEPES was added to a non-shaking batch reactor containing 20 mg/l nitrate-nitrogen and 4% (w/v) of Fe0. Shaking was proved to be more efficient than no shaking. Using the response surface methodology it was found that nitrate removal was closely related to pH. At low pH (e.g., pH < 2), the nitrate removal was fast and efficient (95% to 100%). At high pH (e.g., pH > 11), the transformation of nitrate was fast and efficient only for low concentration of nitrate in the Fe0-H2O system. At normal pH range (pH = 6 to 8), nitrate removal was usually lower than 50% without buffer treatment. The addition of the organic buffer (HEPES) could greatly enhance the nitrate transformation in a wide pH range (e.g., pH = 2 to 11).

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