Heavy metal release from different ashes during serial batch tests using water and acid


Waste Manage. 25:1055-1066 (2005)


Most ashes contain a significant amount of heavy metals and when released from disposed or used ash materials, they can form a major environmental concern for underground waters. The use of water extracts to assess the easily mobilisable content of heavy metals may not provide an appropriate measure. This study describes the patterns of heavy metal release from ash materials in context with results from the German standard extraction method DIN-S4 (DIN 38 414 S4). Samples of four different ashes (municipal solid waste incineration ash, wood ash, brown coal ash, and hard coal ash) were subjected to a number of serial batch tests with liquid renewal, some of which involved the addition of acid to neutralize carbonates and oxides. Release of heavy metals showed different patterns depending on the element, the type of material, the method of extraction and the type of the extractant used. Only a small fraction of the total heavy metal contents occurred as water soluble salts; of special significance was the amount of Cr released from the wood ash. The reaction time (1, 24 or 72 h between each extraction step with water) had only a small effect on the release of heavy metals. However, the release of most of the heavy metals was governed by the dissolution processes following proton inputs indicating that pH-dependent tests such as CEN TC 292 or others are required to estimate long-term effects of heavy metal releases from ashes. Based on the chemical characteristics of ash materials in terms of their form and solubility of heavy metals, recommendations were made on the disposal or use of the four ash materials.