Evaluation of the stability of arsenic immobilized by microbial sulfate reduction using TCLP extractions and long-term leaching techniques

T Jong, David Parry

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    An investigation was conducted to evaluate the stability or leachability of arsenic immobilized by microbial sulfate reduction. Anoxic solid-phase samples taken from a bioreactor previously used to treat metal and As contaminated water using sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB) were subjected to the toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP) and long-term column leaching tests. The results from TCLP experiments showed that the concentration of As leached from solid-phase sulfide material (SSM) samples after an 18 h extraction time was <300 ?g l-1, which is below the current maximum Australian TCLP leachate value for As, and thus would not be characterized as a hazardous waste. In terms of percent total As leached, this was equivalent to <8.5% for SSM samples initially containing 61.3 mg kg-1 As. The levels of As extracted by the TCLP was found to be significantly lowered or underestimated in the presence of dissolved oxygen, with As concentrations increasing with decreasing headspace-to-leachant volume ratios. The concentration of As was also consistently higher in nitrogen purged extractions compared to those performed in air. This was attributed to the dissolution of Fe-sulfide precipitates and subsequent oxidation of Fe(II) ions and precipitation of ferric(hydr)oxides, resulting in the adsorption of soluble As and corresponding decrease in As concentrations. According to the experimental data, it is recommended that TCLP tests for As leachability should be performed at least in zero-headspace vessels or preferably under nitrogen to minimize the oxidation of Fe(II) to ferric(hydr)oxides. In long-term leaching studies (?68 days), it was found that the low solubility of the SSM ensured that rate of release of As was relatively slow, and the resulting leachate concentrations of As were below the current Australian guideline concentration for arsenic in drinking water. � 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)254-265
    Number of pages12
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


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