Phosphonates are widely used in various industries. It is desirable to remove them before discharging phosphonate-containing wastewater. This study describes a large number of batch experiments with adsorbents that are likely suitable for the removal of phosphonates. For this, adsorption isotherms for four different granular ferric hydroxide (GFH) adsorbents were determined at different pH values in order to identify the best performing material. Additionally, the influence of temperature was studied for this GFH. A maximum loading for nitrilotrimethylphosphonic acid (NTMP) was found to be ∼12 mg P/g with an initial concentration of 1 mg/L NTMP-P and a contact time of 7 days at room temperature. Then, the adsorption of six different phosphonates was investigated as a function of pH. It was shown that GFH could be used to remove all investigated phosphonates from water and, with an increasing pH, the adsorption capacity decreased for all six phosphonates. Finally, five adsorption-desorption cycles were carried out to check the suitability of the material for multiple re-use. Even after five cycles, the adsorption process still performed well.

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