A hazardous waste assessment has been completed on ash samples obtained from seven sewage sludge incinerators operating in the UK, using the methods recommended in the EU Hazardous Waste Directive. Using these methods, the assumed speciation of zinc (Zn) ultimately determines if the samples are hazardous due to ecotoxicity hazard. Leaching test results showed that two of the seven sewage sludge ash samples would require disposal in a hazardous waste landfill because they exceed EU landfill waste acceptance criteria for stabilised non-reactive hazardous waste cells for soluble selenium (Se). Because Zn cannot be proven to exist predominantly as a phosphate or oxide in the ashes, it is recommended they be considered as non-hazardous waste. However leaching test results demonstrate that these ashes cannot be considered as inert waste, and this has significant implications for the management, disposal and re-use of sewage sludge ash.
Donatello, S., Tyrer, M., & Cheeseman, C. R. (2010). EU landfill waste acceptance criteria and EU Hazardous Waste Directive compliance testing of incinerated sewage sludge ash. Waste Management, 30(1), 63-71. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2009.09.028