The efficacy and capacity of vertical-flow wetland filters on molybdenum (Mo) removal from wastewater was examined, employing reed (Phragmites australis) and cattail (Typha latifolia) as well as different adsorption granular media. Humus, cinder, modified cinder, as well as pyrite were used as filter media. A synthetic effluent with different concentrations of Mo(VI) at different hydraulic retention times was used for simulating Mo leached mine wastewater. Laboratory experiments showed that the equilibrium adsorption data were in agreement with the Langmuir isotherm model, and the maximum Mo(VI) adsorption capacities of modified cinder and pyrite were 10.01 and 6.25 mg/g, respectively. Mo(VI) removal in F5 (combination substrates of pyrite and cinder) was found to be more stable and effective than that of F1 (conventional gravel and soil filter media) during the 14-week experiment. Most of the Mo(VI) was retained in the 10–20 cm of the substrate, and adsorbed by the modified cinder and pyrite. The largest fraction of Mo(VI) retained was the water-soluble fraction on the surface of the pyrite. Cattail was more suitable for Mo(VI) absorption than reed, but the bioaccumulation accounted for a very small portion of the total removal.

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