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Bioleaching of heavy metals from sewage sludge: A review

Pathak, Ashish, Dastidar, M.G., Sreekrishnan, T.R.
Journal of environmental management 2009 v.90 no.8 pp. 2343-2353
sewage sludge, sewage treatment, fertilizers, heavy metals, pathogens, extraction, pollution control, solubilization, biodegradation, bioremediation
During the treatment of sewage, a huge volume of sludge is generated, which is disposed of on land as soil fertilizer/conditioner due to the presence of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and other nutrients. However, the presence of toxic heavy metals and other toxic compounds in the sludge restricts its use as a fertilizer. Over the years, bioleaching has been developed as an environmentally friendly and cost-effective technology for the removal of heavy metals from the sludge. The present paper gives an overview of the various bioleaching studies carried out in different modes of operation. The various important aspects such as pathogen destruction, odor reduction and metal recovery from acidic leachate also have been discussed. Further, a detailed discussion was made on the various technical problems associated with the bioleaching process, which need to be addressed while developing the process on a larger scale.