Environmental hazard assessment of coal fly ashes using leaching and ecotoxicity tests
The environmental hazard of six coal fly ash samples collected from various coal incineration plants were examined in the present study, using various leaching tests along with physicochemical and ecotoxicological analyses. Physicochemical analyses indicated that the concentration of Ba, Cr, Mo, Se, sulfates and total dissolved solids (TDS) exceeded the threshold values, according to the European Council decision 2003/33/EC for inert, non-hazardous or hazardous waste. The highest sensitivity, among examined organisms, was presented by Daphnia magna and was ascribed to the lowest tolerance of the organism to Cr. The toxic effect profile of the leachates toward Vibrio fischeri revealed that its bioluminescence was significantly altered by the presence of heavy metals in the leachates (such as Cu, Ni and Zn) in low or sub-lethal doses. Although the toxicity of the leachates toward Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata was relatively high, the correlation between the toxicity and heavy metals concentration was rather poor, indicating the significance of the bioavailability of constituents and the importance of toxicity testing. Based on the classification of the samples resulted by physicochemical analyses of the leachates and the results of ecotoxicity tests, Physicochemical and Ecotoxicological indices were also defined, for an overall evaluation of the environmental impact assessment of fly ashes. The suggested indices showed that ecotoxicity tests were in some cases inconsistent with the outcome of waste classification based on physicochemical analyses. Moreover, the examination of leaching protocols and obtained results showed that one stage leaching test (L/S=10 L/kg) underestimated the fly ash classification, when compared with the two stage test EN 12457-3 at the cumulative ratio L/S=10 L/kg. In addition, the application of availability test NEN 7341 provided useful results about the ecotoxicity wastes. Thus, NEN 7341 is strongly suggested for the implementation of such studies, since the bioavailability of constituents may not be altered by pH adjustment tactics and pH-originated toxicity effects may be avoided. (C) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.