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Assessment of aluminum bioavailability in alum sludge for agricultural utilization

Kluczka, Joanna, Zołotajkin, Maria, Ciba, Jerzy, Staroń, Magdalena
Environmental monitoring and assessment 2017 v.189 no.8 pp. 422
European Union, agricultural soils, alum, aluminum, bioavailability, byproducts, coagulants, crops, fertilizers, fractionation, heavy metals, ions, municipal wastewater, sewage sludge, toxicity, wastewater treatment
Inorganic aluminum ions, [Al(H₂O)₆]³⁺, [Al(OH)(H₂O)₅]²⁺, and [Al(OH)₂(H₂O)₄]⁺, are toxic to a number of crops. The aim of this study was to estimate the danger of soil contamination of bioavailable aluminum and heavy metals forms because of alum sludge which was a by-product of water, and wastewater treatment technology using aluminum coagulant is introduced into the soil. Aluminum and selected heavy metal fractionation was carried out in the post-coagulation sludge collected at a water treatment plant (where aluminum was used as a coagulant), fermented sewage sludge at a municipal wastewater treatment plant (which did not apply aluminum coagulant), and soil from water treatment plant as well as the mixtures of sludge and soil. It has been found that post-coagulation sludge used as natural fertilizer is a secondary source of bioavailable aluminum, especially when aluminum coagulants are used during water and wastewater treatment. The evaluation of applicability of the sludge to very weak acidic and acidic agricultural soils was carried out. The authors shall debate the question whether, in this case, the Regulation of EU and Polish Government on sewage sludge should also take the bioavailable aluminum into account and add to the list of the elements whose allowable contents are limited.