Manganese oxide-coated sand can oxidize electron-rich organic contaminants, but after extended exposure to contaminated water its reactivity decreases. To assess the potential for regenerating geomedia, we measured the ability of passivated manganese-oxide coated sand to oxidize bisphenol A after treatment with oxidants, acid, or methanol. Among the regenerants studied, KMnO4, HOCl, HOBr, and pH 2 or 3 HCl solutions raised the average oxidation state of the Mn, but only HOCl and HOBr restored the reactivity of passivated geomedia to levels comparable to those of the virgin manganese-oxide coated sand. Treatment with HCl restored about one third of the reactivity of the material, likely due to dissolution of reduced Mn. Mn K-edge X-ray absorption spectroscopy data indicated that the reactive manganese oxide phases present in virgin geomedia and geomedia regenerated with HOCl or HOBr had nanocrystalline cryptomelane-like structures and diminished Mn(III) abundance relative to the passivated geomedia. KMnO4-regenerated geomedia also had less Mn(III), but it exhibited less reactivity with bisphenol A because regeneration produced a structure with characteristics of δ-MnO2. The results imply that manganese oxide reactivity depends on both oxidation state and crystal structure; the most effective chemical regenerants oxidize Mn(III) to Mn(IV) oxides exhibiting nanocrystalline, cryptomelane-like forms.
- Programme Area 2: Water Resources