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Immobilization of Cd, Zn and Pb in sewage sludge using red mud

Liang, Zhen, Peng, Xianjia, Luan, Zhaokun
Environmental earth sciences 2012 v.66 no.5 pp. 1321-1328
cadmium, heavy metals, iron, land application, leaching, lead, manganese oxides, sewage sludge, sewage treatment, toxicity, zinc
Sewage sludge is an inevitable end by-product of sewage treatment. Land application provides a cost-effective alternative for sewage sludge disposal. However, sewage sludge contains heavy metals that may limit its application. In this work, red mud was employed for the immobilization of heavy metals in sewage sludge. The effect of red mud amendment on heavy metal immobilization was evaluated using Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) method. The TCLP results showed that the immobilization efficiency of Cd, Zn and Pb was 100, 92, and 82%, respectively, when sewage sludge was mixed with 10% red mud. Tests carried out in leaching columns demonstrated that heavy metal concentrations in the leachate of 10% red mud amended sludge were lower than those of the unamended sludge. Moreover, red mud decreased plant available heavy metal (Cd, Zn and Pb) content from 18.1, 17.2 and 14.6% to 6.9, 11.4 and 7.6%, respectively. Sequential chemical extraction experiments showed that after sludge was amended with 10% red mud, exchangeable fraction was reduced and iron and manganese oxides fraction was increased. Red mud amendment can effectively immobilize Cd, Zn and Pb in sewage sludge before land application.