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Industrial Applications: Incinerator Ash Stabilization

Overview

Incinerator ash is the particles that are left over after waste is burnt in an incinerator. The energy from waste plants that use incineration burn a wide range of municipal wastes and can contain glass, brick, rubble, sand, grit, metal, stone, concrete, ceramics and fused clinker as well as combusted products such as ash and slag.

The ash removed from the furnace, and large objects, such as stones, bricks and metals are screened out and are recycled where possible. The remaining ash must then be characterized by the plant operator as either hazardous or non-hazardous and taken off site.
  • non-hazardous - can be processed into a secondary aggregate and used in cement bound materials.
  • hazardous - must be disposed of in a hazardous waste landfill or go for further treatment.

Sampling and Testing Protocol

In 2010, the Environmental Services Association published a ‘Sampling and Testing Protocol’ which was approved by the EPA.  It sets out in detail how plants should sample and analyze incinerator ash…
  • plant operator takes samples of incinerator ash twice a month
  • samples are sent to independent labs to be tested for hazardous properties
  • labs assess whether the ash from the plant as a whole contains high enough quantities
  • a plant is classified as hazardous if five of the samples during a given year exceed the set limits
The most likely reason for incinerator ash to be classified as hazardous is excessive levels of lead, copper and nickel.  These metals can be toxic to plants, invertebrates and fish if significant amounts get onto land or into waterways surrounding the industrial pant.



Learn more about the sampling and testing protocol - Click Here

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