Clinoptilolite in Drinking Water Treatment for Ammonia Removal

H. M. Abd El-Hady, A. Grünwald, K. Vlčková, J. Zeithammerová


In most countries today the removal of ammonium ions from drinking water has become almost a necessity. The natural zeolite clinoptiloliteis mined commercially in many parts of the world. It is a selective exchanger for the ammonium cation, and this has prompted its use in water treatment, wastewater treatment, swimming pools and fish farming. The work described in this paper provides dynamic data on cation exchange processes in clinoptilolite involving the NH4 +, Ca+2 and Mg+2 cations. We used material of natural origin – clinoptilolite from Nižný Hrabovec in Slovakia (particle-size 3–5 mm). The breakthrough capacity was determined by dynamic laboratory investigations, and we investigated the influence of thermal pretreatment of clinoptilolite and the concentration of regenerant solution (2, 5, and 10% NaCl). The concentrations of ammonium ion inputs in the tap water that we used were 10, 5, and 2 mg NH4 + l_1 and down to levels below 0.5 mg NH4 + l_1. The experimental results show that repeated pretreatment sufficiently improves the zeolite’s properties, and the structure of clinoptilolite remains unchanged during the loading and regeneration cycles. Ammonium removal capacities were increased by approximately 40 % and 20 % for heat-treated zeolite samples. There was no difference between the regenerates for 10% and 5% NaCl. We conclude that the use of zeolite is an attractive and promising method for ammonium removal.


clinoptilolite; zeolite; ion exchange; ammonia removal; drinking water

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ISSN 1210-2709 (Print)
ISSN 1805-2363 (Online)
Published by the Czech Technical University in Prague