Removing ammonium from water and wastewater using cost-effective adsorbents: A review

Jianyin Huang , Nadeeka Rathnayake Kankanamge , Christopher Chow , David T. Welsh , Tianling Li , Peter R. Teasdale


Received May 30, 2017,Revised September 15, 2017, Accepted September 18, 2017, Available online September 30, 2017

Volume 30,2018,Pages 174-197

Ammonium is an important nutrient in primary production; however, high ammonium loads can cause eutrophication of natural waterways, contributing to undesirable changes in water quality and ecosystem structure. While ammonium pollution comes from diffuse agricultural sources, making control difficult, industrial or municipal point sources such as wastewater treatment plants also contribute significantly to overall ammonium pollution. These latter sources can be targeted more readily to control ammonium release into water systems. To assist policy makers and researchers in understanding the diversity of treatment options and the best option for their circumstance, this paper produces a comprehensive review of existing treatment options for ammonium removal with a particular focus on those technologies which offer the highest rates of removal and cost-effectiveness. Ion exchange and adsorption material methods are simple to apply, cost-effective, environmentally friendly technologies which are quite efficient at removing ammonium from treated water. The review presents a list of adsorbents from the literature, their adsorption capacities and other parameters needed for ammonium removal. Further, the preparation of adsorbents with high ammonium removal capacities and new adsorbents is discussed in the context of their relative cost, removal efficiencies, and limitations. Efficient, cost-effective, and environmental friendly adsorbents for the removal of ammonium on a large scale for commercial or water treatment plants are provided. In addition, future perspectives on removing ammonium using adsorbents are presented.

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