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ARS Home » Midwest Area » West Lafayette, Indiana » National Soil Erosion Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #366513

Research Project: Managing Agricultural Systems to Improve Agronomic Productivity, Soil, and Water Quality

Location: National Soil Erosion Research

Title: Atrazine removal from water by activated charcoal cloths

Author
item Gonzalez, Javier
item MURPHY, LYNNETTE - University Of Indiana
item Penn, Chad
item Boddu, Veera
item SANDERS, LAURA - Northeastern Illinois University

Submitted to: International Soil and Water Conservation Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/23/2020
Publication Date: 4/3/2020
Citation: Gonzalez, J.M., Murphy, L.R., Penn, C.J., Boddu, V.M., Sanders, L.L. 2020. Atrazine removal from water by activated charcoal cloths. International Soil and Water Conservation Research. 8(2):205-212. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.iswcr.2020.03.002.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.iswcr.2020.03.002

Interpretive Summary: Current structures used to control pollution may be modified to improve the removal of contaminants in water. Materials similar to activated carbon are known to remove organic pollutants in water, including atrazine, a herbicide used to control broadleaf weeds. This herbicide, once applied to the farmlands, stays in soils and can migrate to water bodies, ultimately affecting water quality. In this research, we investigated if geotextiles saturated with activated carbon (GSAC) are more efficient to remove atrazine in water than the regular landscape geotextile (control) currently used in structures to control pollution. The approach consisted of shaking low and high atrazine concentrations with the geotextiles for different time intervals. The results showed that within 30 min, the control trapped/removed about 23 to 36% of atrazine from water and that the GSAC removed 76 to 99% of atrazine. Previously trapped atrazine on the GSAC did not decompose and less than 2.0% was re-extracted with alcohol. The results showed that GSAC is a practical alternative for improving atrazine removal in water in structures used to control pollution.

Technical Abstract: Pollution control structures may be adapted to enhance the removal of nutrients and pesticides from water. Charcoal-like material is known to sorb organic compounds in solution, including atrazine, a herbicide used to control broadleaf weeds, which persists in soils and can migrate from soils to water bodies, ultimately affecting water quality. The primary goal of this study was to investigate if activated charcoal cloths (single-weave, SW; double-weave, DW; and knitted, KT) are more efficient to remove atrazine from aqueous solutions than a cloth without activated charcoal (control) currently used in pollution control structures. The approach consisted of sorption kinetics, flow-through, and desorption/degradation experiments using 50 and 1000 ug L-1 atrazine solutions. Results showed that within 30 min of contact time, the control sorbed from 22.6 to 36.1% of atrazine in solution; whereas the activated charcoal cloths sorbed from 76 to 99% of atrazine in solution (SW > KT > DW). The flow-through experiments showed that the SW sorbed 88.2, 76.1, and 52.2% of atrazine at the contact time of 0.75, 5, and 10 min, respectively. After 28 days of incubation, previously sorbed atrazine on the SW cloth did not degrade and < 2.0% was desorbed. The results showed that activated charcoal cloths are a practical alternative for improving atrazine removal in water in pollution control structures.