Defluoridation is the downward adjustment of the level of fluoride in drinking water. Worldwide, fluoride is one of the most abundant anions present in groundwater. Fluoride is more present in groundwater than surface water mainly due to the leaching of minerals. Groundwater accounts for 98 percent of the earth’s potable water. An excess of fluoride in drinking water causes dental fluorosis and skeletal fluorosis. The World Health Organization has recommended a guideline value of 1.5 mg/L as the concentration above which dental fluorosis is likely. Fluorosis is endemic in more than 20 developed and developing nations.
Defluoridation of groundwater using brick powder as an adsorbent was studied in batch process. Different parameters of adsorption, viz. effect of pH, effect of dose and contact time were selected and optimized for the study. Feasible optimum conditions were applied to two groundwater samples of high fluoride concentration to study the suitability of adsorbent in field conditions. Comparison of adsorption by brick powder was made with adsorption by commercially available activated charcoal. In the optimum condition of pH and dose of adsorbents, the percentage defluoridation from synthetic sample, increased from 29.8 to 54.4% for brick powder and from 47.6 to 80.4% for commercially available activated charcoal with increasing the contact time starting from 15 to 120 min. Fluoride removal was found to be 48.73 and 56.4% from groundwater samples having 3.14 and 1.21 mg l−1 fluoride, respectively, under the optimized conditions. Presence of other ions in samples did not significantly affect the deflouridation efficiency of brick powder. The optimum pH range for brick powder was found to be 6.0–8.0 and adsorption equilibrium was found to be 60 min. These conditions make it very suitable for use in drinking water treatment. Deflouridation capacity of brick powder can be explained on the basis of the chemical interaction of fluoride with the metal oxides under suitable pH conditions. The adsorption process was found to follow first order rate mechanism as well as Freundlich isotherm.
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