This study investigated the sorption-desorption behaviour of four pesticides by a by-product from mineral sand mining, commonly referred to as neutralised used acid (NUA). In batch studies the average amount of pesticide removed after 6. h was 69% for atrazine, 89% for diuron, 61% for 2,4-D and 83% for chlorpyrifos. The lower sorption of 2,4-D to NUA compared with the other pesticides studied is most likely to be due to the high pH of the solutions (7.8 to 8.8) which would have resulted in 2,4-D being predominantly in an anionic form. The presence of other pesticides only significantly decreased the amount of 2,4-D sorbed from 59% to 34% when present in a mixture. Little (2 to 17%) diuron, chlorpyrifos, atrazine or 2,4-D were found to desorb from the NUA. The presence of nitrate or phosphate had minimal effect on the amount of diuron or atrazine sorbed to the NUA. However, all phosphate and nitrate treatments significantly (P. <. 0.05) decreased the amount of 2,4-D sorbed (<. 50%) compared with when 2,4-D was present alone (65%). This study has shown that NUA has potential to be used as a sorbent for pesticides.
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