In copper smelting processes, acidic effluents are generated that contain inorganic contaminants such as arsenic and copper. Nowadays, the treatment of wastewater is done by physicochemical methods without copper recovery. Electrodialysis is an alternative process that can recover copper. Moreover, when electrocoagulation is applied to remove arsenic from wastewater, a more stable final sludge of less volume is obtained. The present research studies the application of a combined electrodialysis and electrocoagulation process to (1) recover Cu and (2) precipitate and remove arsenic simultaneously in the same batch reactor, using synthetic wastewater that simulates wastewater from a copper smelter. Copper and arsenic could be removed and separated by the electrodialysis part, and the electrocoagulation of arsenic was verified. With electrodialysis, the arsenic and copper removals were 67% and 100%, respectively, while 82% of the arsenic arriving at the electrocoagulation part of the cell could be precipitated and removed by this process. Initial concentrations were around 815 mg L−1 Cu and 7700 mg L−1 As. The optimal current was found to be 1.36 A due to the shorter treatment times necessary to get removal percentages, recovery percentages and energy/removed copper mass ratios in the same ranges as the values achieved with a current of 1.02 A. In summary, the combined process is a promising tool for simultaneous copper recovery and arsenic removal.
2022 - Avenida Brasil 2162, Valparaíso, en la Facultad de Ingeniería de la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso.