The adsorptive properties of natural and Na-enriched bentonite in zinc rich aqueous environment have been studied. The results show that adsorption behavior of both bentonites was strongly depending on the pH. At low pH values, the mechanisms that govern the adsorption behavior of bentonites are dissolution of crystal structure and competition of the metal ions with the H+. Between pH 4 and 7, the basic mechanism is an ion exchange process. The alkaline and alkaline earth metals located in the exchangeable sites of bentonites are replaced with Zn2+, cations present in the aqueous solution. At higher pH values (i.e. pH 8), formation of zinc hydroxyl species may result either participation to the adsorption or precipitation onto the bentonites. Therefore, a rapid increase in the equilibrium removal of zinc was obtained above pH 7. Increase in the initial metal ion concentration led to the increase in equilibrium adsorption to a certain degree; then, a plateau was obtained at higher concentrations. The rate of zinc removal depends also on the solid concentration of the suspension. Reducing the slurry concentration allows particles to get in the more dispersed form, resulting higher available sorption sites for zinc. As a result, the adsorption performance of Na-enriched bentonite is better than the natural bentonite in all physical and chemical changes. The data were fitted both Langnmix and Freundlich isotherms. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.