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Treatments of wood ash amended biochar to reduce nutrient leaching and immobilise lead, copper, zinc and cadmium in aqueous solution: column experiments

Stuart Cairns Orcid Logo, Iain Robertson Orcid Logo, Peter Holliman Orcid Logo, Alayne Street-Perrott Orcid Logo

Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology

Swansea University Authors: Iain Robertson Orcid Logo, Peter Holliman Orcid Logo, Alayne Street-Perrott Orcid Logo

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DOI (Published version): 10.1039/d1ew00962a

Abstract

The pollution of aqueous environments by metals has continued to increase due to anthropogenic activities such as mining, waste disposal, industrial activities and the use of motor vehicles. Globally, vehicle numbers are predicted to increase to 2.8 billion by 2050 with aqueous pollutants associated...

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Published in: Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology
ISSN: 2053-1400 2053-1419
Published: Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) 2022
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa59983
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Abstract: The pollution of aqueous environments by metals has continued to increase due to anthropogenic activities such as mining, waste disposal, industrial activities and the use of motor vehicles. Globally, vehicle numbers are predicted to increase to 2.8 billion by 2050 with aqueous pollutants associated with vehicles, such as Pb, Cu, Zn and Cd, increasing alongside vehicle numbers. With these increases, methods to minimise metal pollution are important to find; one such method is wood ash amended biochar. Whilst biochar has the potential to reduce contaminated runoff, this study explores the potential for the biochar itself to leach nutrients (PO43−, SO42− and NO3−) which are constituent parts of its biomass and potentially harmful to the ecosystem the biochar would be deployed to remediate. Treatments such as sintering wood ash to the biochar, granulating the biochar and rinsing the biochar were studied to ascertain their impact on the retention of minerals key to immobilisation, the leaching of nutrients and the immobilisation of Pb, Cu, Zn and Cd. It was demonstrated that wood ash sintered larch biochar granulated <3 mm (WASGr) retained the highest concentration of minerals associated with immobilisation, reduced leaching of nutrients to below Water Framework Directive thresholds and maintained Pb, Cu, Zn and Cd immobilisation at 97–100% once rinsed with deionised water. As a result, WASGr rinsed with deionised water, has the potential to be scaled-up and deployed to immobilise Pb, Cu, Zn and Cd from motorway runoff without a negative impact on the concentration of nutrients in the surrounding waters.
College: College of Science
Funders: This work is part funded by the Welsh Government's European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.