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Analysis of chromium and sulphate origins in construction recycled materials based on leaching test results

Del Rey, I., Ayuso, J., Galvín, A.P., Jiménez, J.R., López, M., García-Garrido, M.L.
Waste management 2015 v.46 pp. 278-286
bricks, ceramics, chromium, construction materials, landfills, laws and regulations, leachates, leaching, oxidation, pollutants, prediction, recycled materials, recycling, sulfates, tiles, toxicity, wastes, Spain
Twenty samples of recycled aggregates from construction and demolition waste (CDW) with different compositions collected at six recycling plants in the Andalusia region (south of Spain) were characterised according to the Landfill Directive criteria. Chromium and sulphate were identified as the most critical compounds in the leachates. To detect the sources of these two pollutant constituents in recycled aggregate, environmental assessments were performed on eight construction materials (five unused ceramic materials, two old crushed concretes and one new mortar manufactured in the laboratory). The results confirmed that leached sulphate and Cr were mainly released by the ceramic materials (bricks and tiles).To predict the toxicological consequences, the oxidation states of Cr (III) and Cr (VI) were measured in the leachates of recycled aggregates and ceramic materials classified as non-hazardous. The bricks and tiles mainly released total Cr as Cr (III). However, the recycled aggregates classified as non-hazardous according to the Landfill Directive criteria mainly released Cr (VI), which is highly leachable and extremely toxic. The obtained results highlight the need for legislation that distinguishes the oxidative state in which chromium is released into the environment. Leaching level regulations must not be based solely on total Cr, which can lead to inaccurate predictions.