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Chemosphere. 2012 Jun;88(2):168-73. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2012.02.073. Epub 2012 Mar 28.

Change of PCBs and forms of heavy metals in sewage sludge during thermophilic anaerobic digestion.

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Faculty of Environmental Engineering and Protection, Czestochowa University of Technology, Poland.


Determination of seven congeners of PCBs was carried out for sewage sludge before, during and after thermophilic digestion. The overall content of heavy metals (Zn, Cu, Ni, Cd, Pb, Cr) in sludge before and after digestion was determined. Moreover the concentration of heavy metals in particular chemical fractions of the sludge was analyzed. After the thermophilic digestion total concentration of seven PCBs was reduced by 47%, which suggests that thermophilic digestion affects PCB reduction positively. On the 10th d of the process, concentration of lower chlorinated PCBs increased, whereas those of higher chlorinated PCBs decreased. The thermophilic digestion process showed no accumulation of the studied heavy metals in the mobile fractions (exchangeable and carbonate) of the stabilized sewage sludge, except for nickel. The highest increase in zinc, copper, cadmium, and chromium concentration was observed in the organic-sulfide fraction, whereas the highest increase in lead was found in the residual fraction of the sludge. In case of nickel both fractions of organic-sulfide and exchangeable-carbonate fractions were enriched.

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