Since the operational costs of commonly used materials for adsorption of toxic metals can be substantial, natural material may be of great interest for treatment applications. Two types of natural material that have shown particular promise are seaweed and seafood waste. In this study, adsorption capacity of Brown seaweed and shrimp shells were compared with a strong acid cation exchange resin (CER). A case study site was used as a reference point and column experiments were designed in a similar manner although at different scale. Each media reduced concentrations of the target metals to levels below defined reference values. If the alternative adsorption media perform as well in the field as the laboratory, the results suggest that the media tested would completely remove the toxic metals in groundwater and runoff water. Seaweed and shrimp shells had stronger affinities for Pb and Cu than CER. However, CER was superior in affinity for Zn, the most weakly bound metal. Moreover, the results showed that Ca in the solution reduced the adsorption capacity of the other metals. This illustrates the limitations of applying the behaviour of the batch studies with single metal solutions to a multi-component system with competitive adsorption.

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