In the present study, continuous-flow column experiments (using glass column, Tygon tubing, and peristaltic pump Manostat Carter) were conducted to investigate the performance of permeable sorption barriers for the removal of cadmium and zinc from synthetic groundwater. Zeolite, ion-exchange resin and granular activated carbon as reactive materials were used. The effectiveness and stability of reactive materials were studied by monitoring of changes of metal ions concentration and selected background anions and cations concentration in groundwater during its flow through columns. Results showed that ion exchange resin was the most effective material of permeable reactive barrier (PRB). Performance of resin barrier remained effective (>99.5% metal ions removal) for the time corresponding to on average of about 10,000 min. The high efficiency of ion-exchange resin in PRB for removal of heavy metals from groundwater was coupled with its reactivity and long barrier lifetime. The breakthroughs in the column tests on activated carbon and zeolite using synthetic groundwater occurred much earlier as compared to resin. Therefore, the system using resin requires smaller amount to treat a given volume of groundwater as compared to other materials. Moreover, the presence of other ions did not impact on activity and permeability of barrier filled with resin.

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