Chemical Leaching of Metals from Wastewater Sludge: Comparative Study by Use of Three Oxidizing Agents [H 2O 2, FeCl 3, and Fe 2(SO 4) 3]

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Chemical leaching of the toxic metals (cadmium, chromium, copper, nickel, lead, and zinc) and behavior of other elements (aluminum, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, sodium, phosphorus, and sulfur) in the wastewater sludge of the Montreal Urban Community wastewater treatment plant (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) were studied in 2-L beakers using sulfuric acid and three oxidants [H 2O 2, FeCl 3, and Fe 2(SO 4) 3] and their association. Metal removal efficiencies of these oxidants were evaluated under different conditions of pH (2.0 and 2.5) and oxidation‐reduction potential (ORP) (350 to 500 mV). The solubilization of the different elements was linked to pH and/or ORP, and a period of 2 to 4 hours was required to obtain satisfactory metals removal yields. Sludge-fertilizing properties generally were little affected by the decontamination process, especially for processes using a ferric salt. Finally, optimal conditions, for best metals solubilization, were established at pH 2.5 and ORP = 450 mV in a 4-hour period.

Keywords: chemical leaching; cost; metals; oxidant; sulfuric acid; wastewater sludge

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: National Institute for Scientific Research (Water Earth and Environment Center), University of Québec, Canada.

Publication date: May 1, 2009

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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