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Heavy metal pollutants in the leachate of waste landfill are a potential threat to the environment. In this study, the feasibility of using municipal sewage sludge as barrier material for the containment of heavy metal pollutants from solid waste landfills was evaluated by compaction test and hydraulic conductivity test concerning compaction property, impermeability and heavy metal retardation. Results of the compaction test showed that the maximum dry density of 0.79 g·cm−3 was achieved at the optimum water content of about 60%. The hydraulic conductivities of compacted sewage sludge permeated with synthetic heavy metal solutions were in the range of 1.3×10−8 – 6.2×10−9 cm·s−1, less than 1.0 ×10−7cm·s−1 recommended by regulations for barrier materials. Chemical analyses on the effluent from the hydraulic conductivity tests indicated that the two target heavy metals, Zn and Cd in the permeants were all retarded by compacted sewage sludge, which might be attributed to the precipitation and adsorption of heavy metal ions. The results of this study suggest that specially prepared material from sewage sludge could be used as a barrier for waste landfills for its low permeability and strong retardation to heavy metal pollutants.
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