The competitive adsorption of arsenate and phosphate onto calcite was studied in batch experiments using calcite-equilibrated solutions. The solutions had circum-neutral pH (7–8.3) and covered a wide span in the activity of Ca2+ and View the MathML source. The results show that the adsorption of arsenate onto calcite is strongly reduced by the presence of phosphate, whereas phosphate adsorption is only slightly reduced by arsenate addition. Simultaneous and sequential addition (3 h apart) yields the same reduction in adsorption, underlining the high reversibility of the system. The reduction in adsorption of both arsenate and phosphate is most likely due to competition for the same sorption sites at the calcite surface, considering the similarity in sorption edges, pKa’s and geometry of the two anions. The strong reduction in arsenate adsorption by competition with phosphate suggests that adsorption of arsenate onto calcite is of minor importance in most groundwater aquifers, as phosphate is often present at concentration levels sufficient to significantly reduce arsenate adsorption. The CD-MUSIC model for calcite was used successfully to model adsorption of arsenate and phosphate separately. By combining the models for single sorbate systems the competitive adsorption of phosphate and arsenate onto calcite in the binary system could be predicted. This is in contrast to the constant capacitance model (CCM) which under-predicted the competition when combining the models for single sorbate systems. This study clearly shows the importance of performing competitive adsorption studies for validation of multi-component models and for estimating the mobility of an ion in the environment.
Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta, 2012, Vol 93, p. 1-13