The content and speciation of heavy metals in composted sewage sludge is the main cause of negative impacts on environment and health of animal and human. An aerobic composting procedure was conducted to investigate the influences of some key parameters on phytotoxicity and speciation of Cu, Zn and Pb during sewage sludge composting. The pH value reached the optimal range for development of microorganisms, and content of organic matter (OM) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) decreased with the composting age. The total amounts of Cu, Zn and Pb were much lower in the final compost. The results from sequential extraction procedure of heavy metals showed that composting process changed the distribution of five fractions of Cu, Zn and Pb, and reduced the total contents and sum percentages of four mobile fractions (exchangeable (EXCH), carbonate (CAR), reducible iron and manganese (FeMnOX), and organic matter bound (OMB)), indicating that the metal mobility and phytotoxicity decreased after aerobic composting. The seed germination and root growth of Pakchoi (Brassica Chinensis L.) were enhanced with composting age and reached the highest value at the end of compost. The decrease of OM and DOC was significantly correlated to changes of metal distribution and germination index (GI) of Pakchoi. Only for Cu in the compost, the GI could be predictable from the sum mobile metal fractions (EXCH+CAR+FeMnOX+OMB) (R=-0.814(*)). For Zn and Pb, R value was significantly increased by use of other components, such as pH, OM and DOC, which suggested that the transformation of heavy metal speciation and phytotoxicity of sewage sludge during an aerobic composting was rather strongly dependent on multiple components than a single element.
M. He, G. Tian, Xin-qiang Liang
Journal of hazardous materials