Industrial sludges from wastewater treatment plants of industrial parks and a drinking water treatment plant in northern Vietnam were investigated in this study. The total concentrations of heavy metals (As, Cd, Cu, Cr, Ni, Hg, Pb, Zn) and other elements (Mn, Pd, Sb, V) in the sludges were measured using the ICP-MS method. In addition, the surface characteristics of the samples were analyzed using SEM–EDS and FTIR techniques. According to Vietnam’s current waste management regulation, the investigated industrial sludges belonged to the hazardous waste category (with Pb concentration > 300 µg/g). In contrast, the sludge from the drinking water treatment plant had a low content of heavy metals and toxic elements. The sequential extraction method revealed that the heavy metals in the industrial sludges exhibited higher mobilization forms (exchangeable and reduceable fractions) than those in the drinking water sludges. The mobilization ability of heavy metals is probably related to the surface function groups of the sludges, which were dominated by (-COOH) and (-OH) groups. The potential ecological risk assessment calculations indicated that the industrial sludges had high potential risk (with the RI values ranging from 229.7 to 605.4), mainly due to the content of Cd in the sludge samples. Further studies about the fate and transport of Cd and other toxic metals in the sludges are highly recommended to better understand their risk to the surrounding environment, such as groundwater and agricultural soil.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis