Removal of heavy metals and organic pollutants by a sand rich in iron oxide

  • Rachid El HaoutiEmail author
  • Zakaria Anfar
  • Said Et-Taleb
  • Mohamed Benafqir
  • Saaida Lhanafi
  • Noureddine El Alem
Original Paper


The aim of this work is to evaluate an effective filtration technique for residual organic pollutants and heavy metals removal using two types of sand rich in iron oxide as a massive filter (sieved and gross sand). X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence (XRF), scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) and specific surface area BET were investigated to characterize the sand. Experimental results showed that the BOD5 removal was found to be 93% for gross sand (GS) and 96% for sieved sand (SS). The COD removal was equal to 98.9 and 99.7% for GS and SS, respectively. The hydrogen bonding, complexation/precipitation process, ions exchanges and electrostatic interactions are the main phenomena proposed to describe residual organic pollutants removal. For heavy metals adsorption, results show a great efficiency removal between 90 and 100% for both cases. The adsorption mechanism was proposed based on zero-point charge, FTIR analysis, fluorescence (XRF) and EDS. The fixation of heavy metals onto the sand could be referred to hydrogen bonding, electrostatic interaction, ion exchange and electron donor–acceptors.

Graphical abstract


Wastewater Iron oxide Organic pollution Black sand Sand filtration Heavy metals 



This work was supported by the University of Ibn Zohr faculty of sciences. We would like to thank the Moroccan foundation for Advanced Science, Innovation and Research (Mascir) for their support and cooperation.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors confirm that this article has no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

41207_2018_58_MOESM1_ESM.docx (78 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 77 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachid El Haouti
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zakaria Anfar
    • 1
  • Said Et-Taleb
    • 1
  • Mohamed Benafqir
    • 1
  • Saaida Lhanafi
    • 1
  • Noureddine El Alem
    • 1
  1. 1.Materials and Environment Laboratory (MEL), Faculty of Science, Department of ChemistryIbn Zohr UniversityAgadirMorocco

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