This study aims to explore the preparation and application of alum sludge (AS) and mud sludge (MS) from a drinking water treatment plant to remove methylene blue (MB) dye from aqueous solution. The sludge (MS and AS) was treated by chemical and physical activation to obtain new adsorbents. The adsorption experiments were carried out under different conditions of initial dye concentration (50–100 mg/L) adsorbent dosage (0.05–0.25 g), solution pH (3–9), temperature (20–60 °C) and contact time (20–90 min). Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray diffraction instruments were used for characterization of the developed adsorbents. The results show that sludge activated by nitric acid (0.25 M HNO3) and pyrolysis at 700 °C were the best chemically and physically activated adsorbents. The optimum adsorption conditions for the adsorption of MB are 100 ppm initial dye concentration, 1 hour contact time, 250 °C solution temperature, pH 7 and 0.25 g adsorbent dosage. Application of the Langmuir and Freundlich Isotherm models showed that adsorbents fitted the Langmuir model well. SEM studies indicated the porous structural aspects of sludge suitable for removing MB dye.

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