Productive use of steelmaking by-product in environmental applications - II: Leachate geochemistry, ecotoxicity and environmental radioactivity

L. A. Wendling, G. B. Douglas, S. Coleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Detailed laboratory studies have indicated that the HIsmelt steelmaking by-product has the ability to neutralise acidity and hence, may have potential application as an environmental amendment. Prior to widespread environmental use, however, an ecotoxicological characterisation of the by-product leachate and an environmental radioactivity risk assessment are required. Ecotoxicity testing indicated that the HIsmelt steelmaking by-product softwater leachate, adjusted from its natural pH of 10.6-8.0 prior to use, was of low toxicity to Chlorella algae and the marine bacterium Vibrio fischeri, and not toxic to the cladoceran Ceriodaphnia dubia. Leachate metal concentrations in HIsmelt by-product were low. Relative to stringent health-based guidelines for Australian drinking water, the HIsmelt softwater leachate only exceeds the pH guideline of 6.5-8.5. The acidic toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP) HIsmelt leachate compares favourably with TCLP leachates from international steel-making by-products with low trace element concentrations reflecting low solid-phase concentrations. The HIsmelt steelmaking by-product exhibited low to moderate U and Th decay chain radionuclide activities with an absorbed dose rate of 65 nGy/h. Given the low ecotoxicity, low leachate trace elements concentrations and acceptable radioactivity, the HIsmelt steelmaking by-product has potential applications as a construction material or as a soil amendment to ameliorate acidity. However, based on the results of the synthetic softwater leachate tests, it is likely that the HIsmelt steelmaking by-product will require mixing with other materials to reduce leachate pH prior to use as an environmental amendment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-227
JournalMinerals Engineering
Volume39
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Environmental
  • Iron ore
  • Mineral processing

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