Characterization of Solid Waste Incineration Fly Ashes and their Heavy Metal Leaching Behavior

Document Type : Original Research Paper


School of Environment and Architecture, University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, 516 Jun Gong Road, Shanghai 200093, China



Two fly ashes from municipal solid waste incineration were selected to study their heavy metal leaching behavior. The main purpose of this research is to investigate the characteristics of fly ashes and compare the leaching of heavy metals in different leaching environment. pH and acid neutralization capacity analysis showed that fly ashes were highly alkaline. Fly ashes also contained a variety of heavy metals including Pb, Cu, Cr, Zn, Cd and Ni etc. Leaching studies showed that the alkalinity of fly ashes raised the pH of leaching solution from acidic to basic. Ni, Cu and Zn were strongly bound to ashes and manifested low leaching. In contrast, Cr and Cd had high mobility but their leaching was inhibited by the low solubility of carbonate Cr and Cd. Pb was highly leachable in the alkaline environment with concentration in the leaching solution reached as high as 9.74 mg/L. In addition, the presence of EDTA in the environment also increased leaching. Pb concentration was raised to 16.63 mg/L. This could be attributed to the chelating capacity of EDTA which means that the presence of organics in natural environment should be taken into consideration. 


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