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Leaching behaviour of copper slag, construction and demolition waste and crushed rock used in a full-scale road construction

Lidelöw, Sofia, Mácsik, Josef, Carabante, Ivan, Kumpiene, Jurate
Journal of environmental management 2017
atmospheric precipitation, carbonation, chromium, concrete, copper, guidelines, leachates, leaching, molybdenum, nickel, oxyanions, recycled materials, risk, road construction, slags, wastes, weathering, zinc
The leaching behaviour of a road construction with fayalitic copper slag, recycled concrete and crushed rock as sub-base materials was monitored over ten years. All studied materials used in the road construction, including crushed rock, contained concentrations of several elements exceeding the guideline values recommended by the Swedish EPA for total element concentrations for waste materials used in constructions. Despite that, leaching from the road construction under field conditions in general was relatively low. The leachates from the recycled materials contained higher concentrations of several constituents than the leachates from the reference section with crushed rock. The leaching of the elements of interest (Cr, Mo, Ni, Zn) reached peak concentrations during the second and fourth (Cu) years and decreased over the observation period to levels below the Swedish recommended values. Carbonation of the concrete aggregates caused a substantial but short-term increase in the leaching of oxyanions such as chromate. The environmental risks related to element leaching are highest at the beginning of the road life. Ageing of materials or pre-treatment through leaching is needed prior to their use in construction to avoid peak concentrations. Also, the design of road constructions should be adjusted so that recycled materials are covered with low-permeability covers, which would minimize the exposure to atmospheric precipitation and weathering.