Immobilization of high-Pb contaminated soil by oxalic acid activated incinerated sewage sludge ash

Jiang shan Li, Qiming Wang, Zhen Chen, Qiang Xue, Xin Chen, Yanhu Mu, Chi Sun Poon

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Identifying effective and low-cost agents for the remediation of Pb-contaminated soil is of great importance for field-scale applications. In this study, the feasibility of reusing incinerated sewage sludge ash (ISSA), a waste rich in phosphorus, under activation by oxalic acid (OA) for the remediation of high-Pb contaminated soil was investigated. ISSA and OA were mixed at different proportions for the treatment of the high-Pb contaminated soil (5000 mg/kg). The Pb immobilization efficacy was further examined by both the standard deionized water leaching test and the toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP). The overall results showed that the use of the ISSA alone and an appropriate mixture of the ISSA and OA could effectively reduce the leachability of Pb from soil. 20% ISSA together with 30% OA (0.2 mol/L) reduced leached Pb concentration by 99%. The main stabilization mechanisms were then explored by different microstructural and spectroscopic analytical techniques including SEM, XRD and FTIR. Apparently, OA released phosphate from the ISSA and Pb from soil via acid attack, which combined and precipitated as stable lead phosphate minerals. However, excessive OA could cause high leaching of phosphate and zinc from the ISSA. Overall, this study indicates that ISSA could be used together with OA to remediate high-Pb contaminated soil, but careful design of mix proportions is necessary before practical application to avoid excessive leaching of phosphate and zinc from the ISSA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117120
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021


  • Immobilization
  • Leachability
  • Lead contaminated soil
  • Oxalic acid
  • Sewage sludge ash

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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