Anaerobically digested swine manure (ADSM) generally contains high concentrations of zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu). These metals levels exceed the land application regulations of municipal biosolids of many European countries and are on the borderline of exceptional quality in the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) 40 CFR part 503 standards. From this perspective, a series of batch tests were conducted to evaluate the feasibility of bioleaching of Zn and Cu from ADSM so that the produced biosolids could safely be applied to land. The effect of different substrate
levels (sulfur) and total solids content (as high as 9%) on metal solubilization was investigated. The results showed that metal solubilization efficiency for both Zn and Cu declined significantly with an increase in total solids from 3 to 6% and then to 9% at the same
substrate level. Metal solubilization increased proportionately with increases in substrate concentration up to 6% of total solids content. However, at 9% total solids content, metal solubilization was insignificant at all substrate levels tested. At a 6% total solids
level and 10 000 mg/L of substrate, 94% of Zn and 72% of Cu were solubilized. Bioleaching was also found to be effective in destruction of pathogens with approximately 2.5 log-scale reduction. The residual biosolid was found to meet the Class A biosolids standands of U.S. EPA
40 CFR part 503.
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