Study on the recycle of steel slag as an adsorbent for COD removal in pulp mill wastewater


  • Van Tuyen Trinh
  • Van Manh Do
  • Tuan Minh Nguyen
  • Thi Doan Pham
  • Huu Tap Van
  • Viet Minh Trinh Institute of Environmental Technology Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology



steel slag, persistent organic pollutants, pulp mill wastewater, adsorption, adsorption column, NaOH modification


This study aims to characterize and investigate steel slag for the removal of its persistent organic pollutants (measured as COD) from pulp mill wastewater. Steel slag and its NaOH-modified states were characterized by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) surface area analysis, Barrett-Joyner-Halenda (BJH) pore size, and volume analysis. Batch adsorption experiments were conducted to investigate the COD adsorption of slag-based adsorbents. The modification of NaOH was found to improve the COD adsorption capacity (by 1.5 times) of steel slag by generating hydroxyl and carboxyl groups and enlarging the specific surface area and pore size in the steel slag particles. In batch experiments, the suitable conditions for COD adsorption on NS (steel slag) and MS20 (2 M NaOH-modified steel slag) were determined to be pH 6 - 8, contact time 90 minutes, and adsorbent dosage 20 g/L. Langmuir and Freundlich adsorption isotherm models satisfactorily described the adsorption of COD on both NS and MS20 with a good correlation. According to the Langmuir isotherm, the maximum COD adsorption capacity of NS and MS20 were 5.16 and 6.87 mg/g, respectively. Column experiments demonstrated that NS and MS20 had promising potential for COD treatment in pulp mill effluent. According to the column results, 20 g of NS or MS20 was able to keep 300 mL or 525 mL of 125 mg/L COD wastewater, respectively, reaching the threshold of the National Technical Regulation on Industrial Wastewater QCVN 40:2021/BTNMT.


Download data is not yet available.


Proctor D., Fehling K., Shay E., Wittenborn J., Green J., Avent C., Bigham R., Connolly M., Lee B. and Shepker T. - Physical and chemical characteristics of blast furnace, basic oxygen furnace, and electric arc furnace steel industry slags, Environmental Science Technology 34 (8) (2000) 1576-1582.

Steel industry co-products. World Steel Association, 2021

Song Q., Guo M. Z., Wang L. and Ling T. C. - Use of steel slag as sustainable construction materials: A review of accelerated carbonation treatment, Resources, Conservation and Recycling 173 (2021) 105740.

Jin Wei L., Chew L. H., Choong T., Tezara C. and Yazdi M. - Overview of Steel Slag Application and Utilization, MATEC Web of Conferences, Vol. 74, 2016, p. 00026.

Ahmedzade P. and Sengoz B. - Evaluation of steel slag coarse aggregate in hot mix asphalt concrete, Journal of hazardous materials 165 (1-3) (2009) 300-305.

Panesar D. K.- Supplementary cementing materials, in Developments in the Formulation and Reinforcement of Concrete, Elsevier, 2019, pp. 55-85.

Xue Y., Hou H. and Zhu S. - Adsorption removal of reactive dyes from aqueous solution by modified basic oxygen furnace slag: isotherm and kinetic study, Chemical Engineering Journal 147 (2-3) (2009) 272-279.

Cheng M., Zeng G., Huang D., Lai C., Liu Y., Zhang C., Wang R., Qin L., Xue W., Song B., Ye S. and Yi H. - High adsorption of methylene blue by salicylic acid–methanol modified steel converter slag and evaluation of its mechanism, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 515 (2018) 232-239.

Blanco I., Molle P., de Miera L. E. S. and Ansola G. - Basic oxygen furnace steel slag aggregates for phosphorus treatment, Evaluation of its potential use as a substrate in constructed wetlands, Water research 89 (2016) 355-365.

Vu M. T., Nguyen L. N., Hasan Johir M. A., Ngo H. H., Skidmore C., Fontana A., Galway B., Bustamante H., and Nghiem L. D. - Phosphorus removal from aqueous solution by steel making slag – Mechanisms and performance optimisation, Journal of Cleaner Production 284 (2021) 124753.

Wang S., Yao S., Du K., Yuan R., Chen H., Wang F. and Zhou B. - The mechanisms of conventional pollutants adsorption by modified granular steel slag, Environmental Engineering Research 26 (1) (2021) 190352-190350.

Ashrafi O., Yerushalmi L., and Haghighat F. - Wastewater treatment in the pulp-and-paper industry: A review of treatment processes and the associated greenhouse gas emission, Journal of Environmental Management 158 (2015) 146-157.

Singh A. K. and Chandra R. - Pollutants released from the pulp paper industry: Aquatic toxicity and their health hazards, Aquatic Toxicology 211 (2019) 202-216.

Mazhar S., Ditta A., Bulgariu L., Ahmad I., Ahmed M. and Nadiri A. A. - Sequential treatment of paper and pulp industrial wastewater: Prediction of water quality parameters by Mamdani Fuzzy Logic model and phytotoxicity assessment, Chemosphere 227 (2019) 256-268.

Carvalho Neves L., Beber de Souza J., de Souza Vidal C. M., Herbert L. T., de Souza K. V., Geronazzo Martins K. and Young B. J. - Phytotoxicity indexes and removal of color, COD, phenols and ISA from pulp and paper mill wastewater post-treated by UV/H2O2 and photo-Fenton, Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 202 (2020) 110939.

Tsang Y. F., Hua F. L., Chua H., Sin S. N. and Wang Y. J. - Optimization of biological treatment of paper mill effluent in a sequencing batch reactor, Biochemical Engineering Journal 34 (3) (2007) 193-199.

Kumar A. and Chandra R. - Biodegradation and toxicity reduction of pulp paper mill wastewater by isolated laccase producing Bacillus cereus AKRC03, Cleaner Engineering and Technology 4 (2021) 100193.

Nageeb M. - Adsorption Technique for the Removal of Organic Pollutants from Water and Wastewater, 2013.

El-Naas M. H., Al-Zuhair S. and Alhaija M. A. - Reduction of COD in refinery wastewater through adsorption on date-pit activated carbon, Journal of Hazardous Materials 173 (1) (2010) 750-757.

Mohammad-pajooh E., Turcios A. E., Cuff G., Weichgrebe D., Rosenwinkel K. H., Vedenyapina M. D., and Sharifullina L. R. - Removal of inert COD and trace metals from stabilized landfill leachate by granular activated carbon (GAC) adsorption, Journal of Environmental Management 228 (2018) 189-196.

Halim A. A., Aziz H. A., Johari M. A. M., and Ariffin K. S. - Comparison study of ammonia and COD adsorption on zeolite, activated carbon and composite materials in landfill leachate treatment, Desalination 262 (1) (2010) 31-35.

GilPavas E. and Correa-Sanchez S. - Assessment of the optimized treatment of indigo-polluted industrial textile wastewater by a sequential electrocoagulation-activated carbon adsorption process, Journal of Water Process Engineering 36 (2020) 101306.

Ministry of Science Technology and Environment - TCVN 6491:1999 Water Quality - Determination of the chemical oxygen demand, 1999.

Navarro C., Díaz M. and Villa-García M. A. - Physico-Chemical Characterization of Steel Slag. Study of its Behavior under Simulated Environmental Conditions, Environmental Science & Technology 44 (14) (2010) 5383-5388.

Miller F. A. - Amides, Carboxylate Ion, and C-O Single Bonds, in: Mayo D. W., Miller F. A. and Hannah R. W., Course Notes on the Interpretation of Infrared and Raman Spectra, John Wiley & Sons Inc., New Jersey, 2004 pp. 205-215.

Kim D. W., Kil H. S., Nakabayashi K., Yoon S. H., and Miyawaki J. - Structural elucidation of physical and chemical activation mechanisms based on the microdomain structure model, Carbon 114 (2017) 98-105.

Xie F., Fan R., Yi Q., Zhang Q. and Luo Z. - NaOH Modification of Persimmon Powder-formaldehyde Resin to Enhance Cu2+ and Pb2+ Removal from Aqueous Solution, Procedia Environmental Sciences 31 (2016) 817-826.

Nouha S., Souad N. S., and Abdelmottalab O. - Enhanced adsorption of phenol using alkaline modified activated carbon prepared from olive stones, Journal of the Chilean Chemical Society 64 (2019) 4352-4359.

Hayati B. and Mahmoodi N. M. - Modification of activated carbon by the alkaline treatment to remove the dyes from wastewater: Mechanism, isotherm and kinetic, Desalination and water treatment 47 (2012) 322‐333.

Parande A. K., Sivashanmugam A., Beulah H. and Palaniswamy N. - Performance evaluation of low cost adsorbents in reduction of COD in sugar industrial effluent, Journal of Hazardous Materials 168 (2-3) (2009) 800-805.

Mittal A., Gajbe V. and Mittal J. - Removal and recovery of hazardous triphenylmethane dye, Methyl Violet through adsorption over granulated waste materials, Journal of Hazardous Materials 150 (2) (2008) 364-375.

Aluyor E. O. and Badmus O. A. M. - COD removal from industrial wastewater using activated carbon prepared from animal horns, African Journal of Biotechnology 7 (21) (2008) 3887-3891.

Rusmin R., Sarkar B., Liu Y., McClure S. and Naidu R. - Structural evolution of chitosan–palygorskite composites and removal of aqueous lead by composite beads, Applied Surface Science 353 (2015) 363-375.

Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment - QCVN 40:2021/BTNMT National Technical Regulation on Industrial Wastewater, 2021.




How to Cite

V. T. Trinh, V. M. Do, T. M. Nguyen, T. D. Pham, H. T. Van, and V. M. Trinh, “Study on the recycle of steel slag as an adsorbent for COD removal in pulp mill wastewater”, Vietnam J. Sci. Technol., vol. 60, no. 4, pp. 675–690, Aug. 2022.