In Japan the volume of municipal solid waste is reduced by incineration, with fly ash and bottom ash disposed in controlled landfills. The leachability of anions and heavy metal cations, Zn, Cu and Pb, from MSW fly ash and bottom ash at different pHs was examined using batch- and column-leaching tests. The MSW ashes had a high capacity for neutralizing acids. Behaviour during leaching depended on the pH of the solution. For the volumes applied, the leachabilities of MSW fly ash were very similar at pHs from 3 to 6. Due to its amphoteric nature, Pb is leachable at pHs of approximately 10 or more, with leachate concentrations of about 3 and 3-10 mg/L for the fly ash and bottom ash, respectively, much higher than for Zn and Cu. Pb concentrations for most leaching solutions were 1 and 3 mg/L for the fly ash and bottom ash, respectively. Zn, and Cu leached at low concentrations for solutions of pH 3-6. Na and K ions leached at high concentrations of approximately 5000 mg/L in the first batch leaching test, decreasing to 10 mg/L by the fourth leach. Ca and Mg ions leached more gradually than Na and K. Cl- and SO42 + ions were the major anions in the MSW ash. The high pH and cation leaching are expected to have negative impacts on the performance of clay liners.
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