Irreversible precipitation of mercury and lead

Matthew M. Matlock, Brock S. Howerton, David A. Atwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

141 Scopus citations


There are immediate concerns with current commercial reagents that are used for heavy metal precipitation; in particular the fact that the reagents are not specifically designed to bind the targeted metals. The current literature reveals that not only do commercial reagents lack sufficient ability to strongly bind the metals, but they also fail to provide long-term stability as ligand-metal complexes under a variety of moderate conditions. For this reason a new ligand was designed and synthesized: 1,3-benzenediamidoethanethiol (BDETH2). It offers multiple, concerted, bonding sites for heavy metals and forms a stable metal-ligand precipitate. In this study, the formation of compounds comprised of this ligand with the divalent metals, lead and mercury, was explored and the pH stability of the water insoluble precipitates was determined. The leaching properties of the metal-ligand precipitates were determined using inductively coupled plasma (ICP) spectroscopy and cold vapor atomic fluorescence spectroscopy (CVAF). The results indicate that a 50.00ppm lead solution at a pH of 4.0 may be reduced to a concentration of 0.05ppm (99.9% lead removal) and to 0.13 ppm (99.7% lead removal) at a pH 6.0. A 50.00 ppm mercury solution at pH 4.0 may be reduced to a concentration of 0.02 ppm (99.97% mercury removal) and to 0.02 ppm (99.97% mercury removal) at a pH of 6.0.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-82
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1 2001


  • Chemical precipitation
  • Heavy metals
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Remediation
  • Water treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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