Enhancing metolachlor destruction rates with aluminum and iron salts during zerovalent iron treatment

T. Satapanajaru, S. D. Comfort, P. J. Shea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Pesticide-contaminated soil may require remediation to mitigate ground and surface water contamination. We determined the effectiveness of zerovalent iron (Fe0) to dechlorinate metolachlor [2-chloro-N-(2-ethyl-6-methylphenyl)-N-(2-methoxy-1-methyl ethyl) acetamide] in the presence of aluminum and iron salts. By treating aqueous solutions of metolachlor with Fe0, we found destruction kinetics were greatly enhanced when Al, Fe(II), of Fe(III) salts were added, with the following order of destruction kinetics observed: Al2(SO4)3 > AlCl3 > F2(SO4)3 > FeCl3. A common observation was the formation of green rusts, mixed Fe(II)-Fe(III) hydroxides with interlayer anions that impart a greenish-blue color. Central to the mechanism responsible for enhanced metolachlor loss may be the role these salts play in facilitating Fe(II) release. By tracking Al and Fe(II) in a Fe0 + Al2(SO4)3 treatment of metolachlor, we observed that Al was readily sorbed by the corroding iron with a corresponding release of Fe(III). The manufacturing process used to produce the Fe0 also profoundly affected destruction rates. Metolachlor destruction rates with salt-amended Fe0 were greater with annealed iron (indirectly heated under a reducing atmosphere) than unannealed iron. Moreover, the optimum pH for metolachlor dechlorination in water and soil differed between iron sources (pH 3 for unannealed, pH 5 for annealed). Our results indicate that metolachlor destruction by Fe0 treatment may be enhanced by adding Fe or Al salts and creating pH and redox conditions favoring the formation of green rusts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1726-1734
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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