Wastewater containing cobalt and copper comprised of plating wash water, plant wash water, and equipment cooling and wash water is generated in the electroplating industry. These metals can be detrimental to humans, animals, plants, and the environment. Thus, it is necessary to treat electroplating wastewater to remove these toxic metals. Carbonate and hydroxide precipitation were utilized for the removal of Co (II) and Cu (II) from synthetic electroplating wastewater by jar tests in this work. The effects of solution pH, precipitant-to-metal ratio, and type of precipitant on the precipitation efficiency of cobalt and copper from the single- and co-contaminated systems were investigated. Carbonate precipitation achieved higher removal efficiency for both target metals in the single- and co-contaminated wastewater streams. Furthermore, it can operate at relatively low pH range of about 7–8. Cobalt in both pollutant systems was almost completely removed at pH 10 using both precipitant systems. Copper was found to be easily removed which was possibly brought about by precipitation-adsorption mechanism. The extent of the co-removal of cobalt with copper is significantly pH dependent. The effect of precipitant-to-metal ratio for cobalt and copper treatment varied in single- and co-contaminated streams. Carbonate precipitation led to higher sludge volume than that of hydroxide precipitation.
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