This study investigates the fate of nitrogen species during nitrate reduction by nanoscale zero valent iron (NZVI) as well as the related kinetics. The NZVI used for the experiments was prepared by chemical reduction without a stabilizing agent. The pseudo first order kinetic constant of nitrate reduction at 30°C with an NZVI/nitrate ratio of 1.25:1, which were the reference conditions of this study, was 4.08 h−1 (R2 = 0.955). A nitrogen mass balance was established by quantitative analysis of aqueous-phase and gas-phase nitrogen species. The results confirm that the nitrate was converted to ammonium ion, that ammonia stripping subsequently occurred under a strong alkaline condition, and that the total amount of aqueous nitrogen was consequently reduced. The nitrate reduction rate also increased with a lower pH and a higher temperature when microscale ZVI was used. However, in contrast to the reaction by microscale ZVI, the nitrate reduction rate by NZVI was higher for an unbuffered condition, possibly due to the abundance of surface atoms and the smaller size.

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