The hybrid zero-valent-iron (hZVI) process is a novel chemical treatment process that has shown great potential in previous laboratory and field bench-top scale tests for removing selenium, mercury and nutrients from various industrial wastewaters. In this study, a pilot-scale demonstration was conducted to continuously treat 3.8–7.6 L/min (1–2 gpm) of the flue-gas-desulfurization (FGD) wastewater at a coal-fired power plant for five months. Results show that the hZVI process could simultaneously reduce selenate-Se from 1 to 3 mg/L to below 10 μg/L and mercury from over 100 μg/L to below 10 ng/L in compliance with the new stringent effluent discharge limits planned by the U.S. EPA for Se and Hg. A three-stage hZVI system with a combined hydraulic retention time of 12 h is sufficient for Se treatment, while a single-stage system can meet Hg treatment requirement. The successful pilot study demonstrated that the hZVI process is scalable and could be a reliable, low-cost, high-performance treatment platform with many application potentials, particularly, for solving some of the toughest heavy metal water problems.

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