Phosphorus Removal by Steel Slag Filters: Modeling Dissolution and Precipitation Kinetics to Predict Longevity

This article presents an original numerical model suitable for longevity prediction of alkaline steel slag filters used for phosphorus removal. The model includes kinetic rates for slag dissolution, hydroxyapatite and monetite precipitation and for the transformation of monetite into hydroxyapatite. The model includes equations for slag exhaustion. Short-term batch tests using slag and continuous pH monitoring were conducted. The model parameters were calibrated on these batch tests and experimental results were correctly reproduced. The model was then transposed to long-term continuous flow simulations using the software PHREEQC. Column simulations were run to test the effect of influent P concentration, influent inorganic C concentration and void hydraulic retention time on filter longevity and P retention capacity. High influent concentration of P and inorganic C, and low hydraulic retention time of voids reduced the filter longevity. The model provided realistic P breakthrough at the column outlet. Results were comparable to previous column experiments with the same slag regarding longevity and P retention capacity. A filter design methodology based on a simple batch test and numerical simulations is proposed.