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0 Result

Table 1: Standard concentration and absorbance of Fe

Concentration of Fe

1 0.073

2 0.094

3 0.146

Absorbance vs Concentration of Fe
0.3 y = 0.093x + 0.035


0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5

Figure 1: Graph of absorbance against concentration of Fe (ppm)

Table 2: Standard concentration and absorbance of Cu

Concentration of Cu

1 0.274

2 0.441

3 0.576

Absorbance vs Concentration of Cu
0.6 y = 0.151x + 0.1283


0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5

Figure 2: Graph of absorbance against concentration of Cu (ppm)

Table 3: Standard concentration and absorbance of Zn

Concentration of Zn

1 0.681

2 0.941

3 1.039

Absorbance vs Concentration of Zn
y = 0.179x + 0.529





0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5

Figure 3: Graph of absorbance against concentration of Zn (ppm)

Table 4: Absorbance and concentration detected in the waste water sample

Heavy metal Concentration (ppm) Absorbance

Iron (Fe) 1.043 0.132
Copper (Cu) 0.130 0.148

Zinc (Zn) 1.615 0.818

Initial pH (pHi) 8.8

Heavy metals is a metallic elements that have a relatively high density compared to water.
Heavy metals include metalloids, such as arsenic has a tendency to induce toxicity at low level of
exposure (Barakat, 2011). Generally, the concentration of heavy metals in water mostly influenced
by several physicochemical factors such as salinity, pH, conductivity, temperature, dissolved
oxygen, redox potential and ionic strength. Some of the metals will forming complexes when it
reacts with organic compound (Radulescu et al., 2014). The main purpose for this experiment is
to determine the concentration of Iron (Fe), Copper (Cu) and Zinc (Zn) in waste water sample
using atomic absorption spectroscopic (AAS).

The experiment was carried out by using spectroscopic technique that known as atomic
absorption spectroscopy (AAS) to detect heavy metals in the sample. AAS is an analytical
technique that was specified to measure the concentration of elements qualitatively and
quantitatively. Before the sample being analyzed in AAS, there were some step involved to prepare
the sample and the experiment was conducted in fume hood. Generally, heavy metals are readily
form complexes with organic constituents, hence it was necessary to destroy them by digestion
with strong acid which is nitric acid, HNO3. Firstly, 50ml of waste water were transferred into
beaker containing 10ml of 65% HNO3 and the beaker must be covered by cover glass. Then, the
solution were boiled slowly and allowed to evaporate on a hot plate to the lowest possible volume
which approximately 10ml. Heating was continued with addition another 10ml of HNO3 until the
solution become clear. Meanwhile, standard solution of 1ppm, 2ppm and 3ppm for each Iron (Fe),
Cupper (Cu) and Zinc (Zn) was prepared to use in analysis. After the solution were considered as
see through, 5ml of 37% hydrochloric acid, HCl was added and heated for several minutes, then
the solution allowed to cool and filtered. The filtrate were transferred to 50ml volumetric flask and
diluted to the mark with distilled water. This solution were then used for the elemental analysis by
Based on the experiment, the initial pH of waste water was 8.8. The pH of the wastewater
is one of the main factors that influences the adsorption of the metal ions (Anusa, Ravichandran,
& Sivakumar, 2017). Theoretically, the percentage removal of metal ions such as iron, copper and
zinc increased up to the pH 6. Hence, the increase in percentage removal of the metal ions can be
explained by the fact that at higher pH where the adsorbent surface is deprotonated and negatively
charge. Thus, attraction between the positively metal cations occurred (Bernard, Jimoh, &
Odigure, 2013).

Tables above presented the result of detection heavy metals analysis that obtained from
AAS. Table 1 shows the standard concentration and absorbance for Fe which is absorbance 0.073,
0.094 and 0.146 for 1ppm, 2ppm and 3ppm concentration of iron. Table 2 presented the absorbance
0.274, 0.441 and 0.576 for 1ppm, 2ppm and 3ppm concentration of copper. Then, Table 3
displayed the data of the absorbance 0.681, 0.941 and 1.039 for 1ppm, 2ppm and 3ppm
concentration of zinc. Based on the result obtained, the graph absorbance against concentration of
each heavy metals are plotted in order to determine the concentration of heavy metals in the sample

Based on the calibration curve of standard solution of heavy metals, the concentration of
iron in the wastewater sample at absorbance 0.132 is 1.043ppm, the concentration of copper at
absorbance 0.148 is 0.130ppm and the concentration of zinc at absorbance 0.818 is 1.615ppm as
can be seen in Table 4. The result shows that the concentration of zinc is higher than iron followed
by copper. From the Fifth Schedule in Environmental Quality (Industrial Effluent) Regulation
2009 by Department of Environment (DOE) Malaysia, the schedule stated the acceptable condition
for discharge industrial effluent or mixed effluent complies with standard A and standard B. The
concentration of iron for standard A is 1.0ppm and for standard B is 5.0ppm. Then, the
concentration of copper for standard A is 0.2ppm and for standard B is 1.0ppm while the
concentration of zinc for standard A and standard B is 2.0ppm.
Theoretically, the result obtained can be concluded that the concentration of iron was not
comply in the regulation at standard A but it was comply at standard B. This is because, the
concentration of iron (1.043ppm) is higher than the concentration stated in standard A but lower
than standard B. Next, the concentration of copper were comply with both standard A and standard
B because concentration of copper values were not exceed the maximum levels of the Standard A
and B limitations for discharge of industrial effluents. For the concentration of zinc, the value
obtained which is 1.615ppm were comply for both standard A and standard B because the value
was not exceed the maximum levels of standard A and B limitations which is 2.0ppm.

The significant to identify the heavy metals level in wastewater can be a guideline to choose
a suitable treatment method based on the standard A and standard B if the heavy metals
concentration was exceed from its limitations. Wastewater that discharge from the industry
contains a high concentration of heavy metals due to the accumulation of filtered particles from
the various source. A direct release of water into environment can cause a serious effects to all
living things because metals are toxic and non-biodegradable where it will continue to exist in
these water bodies (Beh, Chuah, Nourouzi, & Choong, 2012). Hence, a strict environmental
regulation need to follow in an effort to reduce the heavy metals contamination of the discharge of
industrial effluent.

There were some possible error occurred during the experiment. Firstly, the sample may
not slowly boiled as stated in manual where it affected the accuracy of the final result. Next, human
error while handling AAS machine and maybe the filtrate not diluted well with distilled water.

Anusa, R., Ravichandran, C., & Sivakumar, E. K. T. (2017). Removal of heavy metal ions from
industrial waste water by nano-ZnO in presence of electrogenerated Fenton ’ s reagent,
10(7), 501–508.

Barakat, M. A. (2011). New trends in removing heavy metals from industrial wastewater.
Arabian Journal of Chemistry, 4(4), 361–377. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arabjc.2010.07.019

Beh, C. L., Chuah, T. G., Nourouzi, M. N., & Choong, T. (2012). Removal of heavy metals from
steel making waste water by using electric arc furnace slag. E-Journal of Chemistry, 9(4),
2557–2564. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/128275

Bernard, E., Jimoh, a, & Odigure, J. O. (2013). Heavy Metals Removal from Industrial
Wastewater by Activated Carbon Prepared from Coconut Shell. Research Journal of
Chemical Sciences, 3(8), 3–9. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.0020369

Radulescu, C., Dulama, I. D., Stihi, C., Ionita, I., Chilian, A., Necula, C., & Chelarescu, E. D.
(2014). Determination of heavy metal levels in water and therapeutic mud by atomic
absorption spectrometry. Rom. J. Phys., Vol. 59(Nos. 9–10), 1057–1066. Retrieved from


1) Concentration of Fe

Y = 0.093X + 0.035
0.132 = 0.093X + 0.035
X = 1.043
Hence, the concentration of Fe is 1.043 ppm

2) Concentration of Cu

Y = 0.151X + 0.1283
0.148 = 0.151X + 0.1283
X = 0.130
Hence, the concentration of Cu is 0.130 ppm

3) Concentration of Zn

Y = 0.179X + 0.529
0.818 = 0.179X + 0.529
X = 1.615
Hence, the concentration of Zn is 1.615 ppm