Silver Dissolution and Release from Ceramic Water Filters. Env Sci Tech, June 2015.
Authors: Anjuliee M. Mittelman, Daniele S. Lantagne, Justine Rayner, and Kurt D. Pennell
Application of silver nanoparticles (nAg) or silver nitrate (AgNO3) has been shown to improve the microbiological efficacy of ceramic water filters used for household water treatment. Silver release, however, can lead to undesirable health effects and reduced filter effectiveness over time. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the contribution of nanoparticle detachment, dissolution, and cation exchange to silver elution, and to estimate silver retention under different influent water chemistries. Dissolved silver (Ag+) and nAg release from filter disks painted with 0.03 mg/g casein-coated nAg or AgNO3 were measured as a function of pH (5–9), ionic strength (1–50 mM), and cation species (Na+, Ca2+, Mg2+).
Silver elution was controlled by dissolution as Ag+ and subsequent cation exchange reactions regardless of the applied silver form. Effluent silver levels fell below the drinking water standard (0.1 mg/L) after flushing with 30–42 pore volumes of pH 7, 10 mM NaNO3 at pH 7. When the influent water was at pH 5, contained divalent cations or 50 mM NaNO3, silver concentrations were 5–10 times above the standard. Our findings support regular filter replacement and indicate that saline, hard, or acidic waters should be avoided to minimize effluent silver concentrations and preserve silver treatment integrity.