Effects of Chlorides and Sulphates on Heavy Metal Leaching from Mortar with Raw and Electrodialytically Treated MSWI Fly Ash

Benjamin A R Ebert, Gunvor M Kirkelund*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Municipal solid waste incineration (MSWI) fly ash could be used as supplementary cementitious material in cement-based materials. However, heavy metal leaching, such as Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb and Zn, both from the MSWI fly ash and cement-based materials containing MSWI fly ash, remains a persistent obstacle. Here, an up-scaled electrodialytic treatment was used as a pre-treatment to remove heavy metals from MSWI fly ash before using the fly ash in mortar. Mortar samples with 10 wt% replacement of cement with either raw or elecrtodialytically treated MSWI fly ash were subjected to monolithic (in-use scenario) and crushed mortar (end-of-life scenario) leaching tests. The environmental conditions (e.g., exposure to chlorides or sulfates) at the surface of cement-based materials can affect leaching. Acidified H2O, NaCl or Na2SO4 solutions were, therefore, used for the leaching tests. Up to 80% heavy metal removal by the up-scaled electrodialytic pre-treatment was feasible. Regulatory limits for disposing of the MSWI fly ash in non-hazardous waste landfills were exceeded, even if the electrodialytic treatment removed heavy metals. However, leaching from monolithic mortar samples complied with the regulatory limits, while Cr leaching exceeded the regulatory limits for all crushed mortar samples when using NaCl or Na2SO4. Both NaCl and Na2SO4 generally increased the heavy metal leaching yield from fly ash and mortar compared to leaching with acidified H2O. The results of the study suggest that environmental conditions should be taken into account when assessing leaching from cement-based materials with MSWI fly ash.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWaste and Biomass Valorization
Pages (from-to)2673–2688
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Bench-scale
  • Cement-based materials
  • Electrokinetic remediation
  • Environmental factors
  • Leaching


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