Electrochemical Reduction of Hexavalent Chromium in the Tannery Effluents in the Quindío Department, Colombia

Irma María García Giraldo, Henry Reyes Pineda, Edgar Jesús Borja Arco


Considering the essential participation of Colombia in leather production, it is necessary to consider new alternatives for wastewater degradation as a factor for its development. This industry is recognized worldwide as one of the most polluting water due to the chemical processes. The effluents of the leather industry constitute one of the most complex residues for their treatment due to the characteristics of their contaminant load. Thus, an adequate treatment of such wastewater is essential from an environmental and health viewpoint. This study aims to reduce hexavalent chromium in the tannery effluents of the Quindío Department. This study applied different electrochemical methods to simulated wastewater with hexavalent chromium concentrations similar to those of tannery effluents in the Quindío Department, such as cyclic voltammetry, linear sweep voltammetry, and chronoamperometry, using graphite rod and carbon cloth as working electrodes. Obtaining a chromium reduction of around 99.45% is a very satisfactory result considering that the tanning industries in Colombia do not comply with the legislation for eliminating chromium in their effluents. Finally, the electrochemical techniques employed proved to be very efficient and reliable for remediating industrial wastewater, specifically with the effluents treated in this study, since they have economically sustainable characteristics in terms of operating costs, in addition to being environmentally friendly.   


Keywords: tanneries, electrochemical methods, carbon cloth, hexavalent chromium, wastewater.


Full Text:



CIMINO G, and CARISTI C. Acute toxicity of heavy metals to aerobic digestion of waste cheese whey. Biological Wastes, 1990, 33: 201-210.

CIMINO G., PASSERINI A., and TOSCANO G. Removal of toxic cations and Cr (VI) from aqueous solution by Hazelnut hell. Water Resources, 2000, 34(7): 2955-62.

TOWNSHEND A. Encyclopedia of analytical science. Vol. 9. Academic Press, New York, 1995: 729-742.

GEOFFREY P., TODD W., and CHRISTINE W. Electrochemical removal of chromium from wastewater. Report. The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, 1992.

MADONI P., DAVOLI D., GORI G., and VESCOVI L. Toxic effect of heavy metals on the activated sludge protozoan community. Water Resources, 1996, 30: 3533-3539.

FRANQOISE C., BOURG R., and BOURG A.C.M. Aqueous geochemistry of chromium: a review. Water Resources, 1991, 25(7): 807-816.

HAAS C.N., and TARE V. Application of ion exchange to recovery of metals from semiconductor wastes. Reactive & Functional Polymers, 1984, 2: 61-70.

JUANG R., and LIN L. Treatment of complexed copper (II) solutions with electrochemical membrane processes. Water Resources, 2000, 34: 43-50.

SELVI K., PATTABHI S., and KADIRVELU K. Removal of Cr (VI) from aqueous solution by adsorption onto activated carbon. Bioresource Technology, 2001, 80: 87-89.

RAJAMANI S., RAMASAMI T., LANGERWERF J.S.A., and SCHAPPMAN J.E. Environment management in tanneries feasible chromium recovery and reuse system. In: Proceedings of Third International Conference on Approriate waste Management Technologies for Developing Countries, Nagpur, India, 1995: 965-973.

SRINATH T., VERMA T., RAMTEKE P.W., and GARG S.K. Chromium (VI) biosorption and bioaccumulation by chromate resistant bacteria. Chemosphere, 2002, 48: 427-435.

JUANG R.S., and SHIAU L.D. Ion exchange equilibria of metal chelates of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid with Amberlite IRA-68. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 1998, 37: 555-560.

SIDDIQUI B.A., SHARMA P.P., and SULTAN M. Adsorption studies on phosphate treated saw-dust: separation of Cr (VI) from Zn2+, Ni2+ and Cu2+ and their removal and recovery from electroplating waste. Indian Journal of Environmental Protection, 1999, 19(11): 846-852.

HANRA A.M., and PRABHAKAR S. Studies on removal of cadmium from effluents by reverse osmosis. Indian Journal of Environmental Protection, 1996, 38(1): 35-40.

HATFIELD T.L., KLEVEN T.L., and PIERCE D.T. Electrochemical remediation of metal- bearing wastewaters Part—I Copper removal from simulated mine drainage waters. Journal of Applied Electrochemistry, 1996, 26: 567-574.

HAYATY F., and ASIYE A.A. Dextran modified magnetic nanoparticles based solid phase extraction coupled with linear sweep voltammetry for the speciation of Cr (VI) and Cr (III) in tea, coffee, and mineral water samples. Analytical Methods, 2019, 292: 151-159. DOI: doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2019.04.058.


  • There are currently no refbacks.