Assessment of long-term leaching from MSWI air-pollution-control (APC) residues is discussed with respect to use in environmental impact assessment, such as life-cycle assessment (LCA). A method was proposed for estimating leaching as a function of the liquid-to-solid (L/S) ratio in a long-term perspective (L/S 5000l/kg). Data for changes in residue pH as a function of L/S was used in combination with pH dependent leaching data to predict leachate concentrations of Al, Ca, Cd, Ba, Mg, Ni, Pb, S, Pb, V and Zn as a function of L/S. Mass balance calculations were used to determine the element fractions leached with respect to L/S. The estimated long-term leaching from a semi-dry residue and a fly ash was compared with short-term leaching determined by batch tests at L/S 10l/kg, both carbonated and non-carbonated versions of the residues were investigated. Generally, very high L/S ratios above 2000l/kg were required to leach 20–30% of the solid contents. However, Ca and S were depleted at L/S 200–900l/kg. The long-term leachate concentrations were found to either remain at the same level as the initial leaching determined by the L/S 10 batch test, or to significantly decrease compared with the initial leaching. Only Al and Zn were found to show higher leachate concentrations at L/S ratios above 3000–5000l/kg. Carbonation generally prolonged the time needed for depletion from the solid residues; however, Ca and S were depleted faster than in the case of non-carbonated residues. This study shows that uncritical use of batch leaching data for assessing the potential leaching is highly problematic, and evaluations of residue disposal should include scenario specific quantification of the long-term leaching.
Waste Management, 2006, Vol 26, Issue 8, p. 803-814