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Aubertin N., Neveux N., Gerardin R. and O. Evrard (1996) Synthesis of Potassium Sulfatoferrate and its Use in Wastewater Treatment. Rev. Sci. Eau 9 (1) : 17-30. [article in French]

Original title: Synthèse d'un sulfatoferrate de potassium et son efficacité dans le traitement des eaux.

Communication presented at the International Symposium of the GRUTTEE Les sous-produits de traitement et d'épuration des eaux, 29-30 septembre 1994, Poitiers, France.

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Tetraoxoferrate(VI), FeO4²-, possesses properties which make it potentially useful in certain areas of water purification: it is an excellent oxidizing agent, it has a powerful bactericidal action and it spontaneously decomposes over a short period of time. When reduced, the FeO4²- ion generates base in solution and a Fe(OH)3 type gel which precipitates and carries down with it other ions (precipitation of hydroxide metal salts). These properties make ferrate(VI) useful in water disinfection and in wastewater treatment because it acts by an oxidation-coagulation-precipitation process.

Iron, in its familiar form exists in the (II) and (III) oxidation states; ferrate(VI) ion has long been known, but, due to its instability and difficulty of preparation, it has not been studied extensively and has not been industrially produced. In this paper, we recommend a method of synthesis of alkali ferrate(VI) salts by a dry powder process, which occurs at room temperature and can be easily used for industrial production of Fe(VI). To minimize ferrate(VI) decomposition, we proceed in a strong alkaline medium (presence of a strong base like potash or caustic soda) where oxidation of an iron (bivalent or trivalent) containing salt becomes easier. By such a synthesis process, we produce stabilized ferrate(VI) which enters a solid solution with the formula:


where M designates Na or K, X is an element whose cation has the electronic structure of a rare gas, e.g. X=S. M2XO4 is an isomorph of K2FeO4 with closed unit cell parameters. The M2(Fe,X)O4 formula has been established by chemical means and by X-ray diffraction; [sup]57Fe Mössbauer spectrometry has been used to monitor the hexavalent iron oxidation state. This paper deals with sulfatoferrate K2(Fe,S)O4 properties for compounds having Fe/S ratios between 1 and 1.5. in aqueous solution, K2(Fe,S)O4 dissolves and gives rise to FeO4²- and SO4²- anions.

In collaboration with NANC.I.E. (Centre International de l'Eau de Nancy), the effectiveness of K2(Fe,S)O4 in wastewater treatment has been studied. The product exhibits a real bactericidal effect on both coliforms and total bacteria. This bactericidal efficiency is reached in a short period of time with iron starting levels as low as 5-10 mg.L-¹. Comparative coagulation jar-tests were carried out on raw wastewater and on secondary effluent using FeCl3·6 H2O, Al2(SO4)3·18 H2O and K2(Fe[inf]0.54,S[inf]0.46)O4. Total suspended solids (TSS) removal on the raw wastewater was better with Al(III) and Fe(III) than with sulfatoferrate. On the secondary effluent, 40% removal was achieved with sulfatoferrate as well as with Fe(III). For removal of chemical oxygen demand (COD), better results were reached with Fe(VI) than with either Fe(III) or Al(III). The effectiveness of FeO4²- after 30 minutes of contact with the bacterial medium (secondary effluent) has also been studied. At pH=8.5, a dose of 10 mg.L-¹ iron(VI) removes 99.70% of the total coliforms and 99.90% of the fecal coliforms.


Ferrate(VI), bactericide, oxidizing agent, coagulation, wastewater.

Corresponding author

N Aubertin, Laboratoire de Chimie du Solide Minéral, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UA 158, BP 239, 54506 Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy Cedex, FRANCE

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