Treating waste with waste: the potential of synthesized alum from bauxite waste for treating car wash wastewater for reuse

  • Isaac MonneyEmail author
  • Richard Buamah
  • Emmanuel Amponsah Donkor
  • Rashid Etuaful
  • Hugo Kim Nota
  • Hilco Ijzer
Research Article


This study assessed the contaminant removal potential of a low-cost alum synthesized from bauxite slime waste compared to industrial grade alum [Al2(SO4)3.18H2O] in treating car wash wastewater using standard jar tests. The synthesized alum was subsequently applied as a coagulant to test the short-term performance of a bench scale flocculation–flotation system for treating car wash wastewater. Coagulant dosages and mixing intensities were optimized for both coagulants and differences were analyzed with R using two-way ANOVA with Tukey’s (HSD) post hoc testing. Per the jar tests, percentage removal of up to 99%, 34%, and 75% of turbidity, anionic surfactants (AS), and COD, respectively, was achieved with 90 mg/L of the synthesized alum compared to 100%, 37%, and 74% for industrial grade alum. Contaminant removal efficiencies of both coagulants were comparable (p > 0.05). However, coagulant dosage strongly influenced the removal of turbidity, AS, and COD (p < 0.05) while mixing intensity influenced all but COD. The bench-scale flocculation–flotation system completely removed turbidity (100%) and reduced AS and COD by up to 92% and 99% respectively. The results of this study demonstrate the potential of alum synthesized from bauxite slime waste as a cheaper alternative for industrial grade alum in wastewater recycling for the car wash industry.


Car wash Wastewater Bauxite Reuse Alum Ghana 


Funding information

This research was funded by the Netherlands Government (VIA Water Project No. L15050 and NICHE 195) and the Regional Water and Environmental Sanitation Centre, Kumasi with funding from the Government of Ghana and the World Bank under the African Centers of Excellence project.

Compliance with ethical standards


The views expressed in this paper, however, do not reflect those of the funders.

Supplementary material

11356_2019_4730_MOESM1_ESM.docx (382 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 381 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringKwame Nkrumah University of Science and TechnologyKumasiGhana
  2. 2.Department of Water ManagementDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands

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