Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Earth and Environmental Sciences


Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Reader/Committee Chair

Noblet, James


A commercially available product, PURA PhosLock, was identified and evaluated for use as a sorbent to remove dissolved arsenic (As) from drinking water. Although marketed as a product to remove phosphate in aquaria, it is composed of iron oxide hydroxide (i.e., FeO(OH)), which is also known to adsorb dissolved As species from water. Arsenic was measured using standard methods and Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy. A first rough filtration test was performed to see if the PhosLock adsorbed As well. About 50 g of PhosLock was used to filter 10 L of tap water containing 100 ppb As. No detectable As was observed in the filtrate. A sorption study was then performed to determine the time required to reach equilibrium, which was attained after seven hours. A second set of sorption studies were performed using different As concentrations and the data was evaluated using the Langmuir adsorption model. The model predicted a maximum adsorption capacity of 457 to 636 mg/g. A final flowing water column breakthrough experiment was performed. Tap water spiked with 50 ppb was filtered through 0.5 grams of sorbent in a glass chromatography column. The results showed that seven liters of water were filtered before any As was detected. Over 10 L were filtered before the maximum contaminant level ( MCL) of 10 ppb was exceeded. The flow through study results showed that the PhosLock has an As adsorption capacity of 700 mg/g. This is consistent with the highest sorption capacity predicted by the Langmuir model. The results of this study show that PhosLock is a very effective and economical sorbent for the removal of As from drinking water.