Evaluation of leaching and ecotoxicological properties of sewage sludge–fly ash mixtures
The objectives of this work were the evaluation of sewage sludge stabilization by mixing with fly ash, the examination of the physicochemical properties of the produced materials and their leachates and the assessment of their environmental impact by the evaluation of the ecotoxic characteristics. Different ratios of fly ash and sewage sludge (1:1, 1:2, 1:3, 1:6, and 1:9) were mixed for 48 and 72 h. After mixing, the liquid phase of the produced materials was analyzed for total coliforms and Escherichia coli, while the solid residue was dried and tested for the leaching characteristics by the application of TCLP and EN 12457-2 standard leaching methods. Furthermore, the produced leachates were analyzed for their content of specific metals, while their ecotoxicological characteristics were determined by the use of toxicity bioassays, using the marine photobacterium Vibrio fischeri and the crustacean Daphnia magna. The phytotoxicity of sewage sludge–fly ash mixtures was also determined by utilizing seeds of three higher plants (one monocotyl and two dicotyls). The mixtures exhibited low metal leaching in all cases, while the ecotoxic properties increased with the increase of fly ash/sewage sludge ratio. The phytotoxicity testing showed increased root length growth inhibition
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