Leaching studies of inorganic and organic compounds from fly ash

Freek Ariese, Kees Swart, Roberto Morabito, Claudia Brunori, Stefania Balzamo, Jaroslav Slobodnik, Eva Korenková, Pavel Janoš, Michaela Wildnerova, József Hlavay, Klára Polyák, Péter Fodor, Herbert Muntau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)


Fly ash is produced in massive quantities by fossil fuel based power plants and waste incinerators, and contains high levels of potentially toxic chemicals. Various leaching tests exist to determine the available fractions, but the outcome is strongly dependent on the experimental conditions, and these have not yet been harmonised at the international level. In order to test existing protocols for heavy metals, several intercomparisons were organised within the framework of an EU-INCO project "ANALEACH", in which seven institutes from five countries participated. Two existing reference materials were made available for the project and test batches of two new fly ash reference materials were produced. Availability tests, leaching tests and pH-stat tests were studied and critical steps in the procedures were identified. Fly ashes can also contain large amounts of inorganic sulphur and nitrogen compounds, and the determination and leaching behaviour of these compounds were also studied. In one intercomparison for metals, inorganic S and N-compounds were also included. A five-step leaching test was optimised for fly ash in order to link metal fractions to different types of binding. Column leaching experiments were carried out to investigate leaching from fly ash into soil, mimicking the effects of (acid) rain on fly ash deposited on topsoil after atmospheric transport. The major fraction of the leached metal ions was retained by the soil. Also large numbers of organic compounds (including many toxic ones) were identified in fly ash extracts, especially in city waste incinerator ash. Leaching procedures based on ultrasonic extraction were developed for organic compounds and an intercomparison exercise was organised. In a field study at the river Nitra(Slovakia) numerous organic pollutants were found at elevated levels downstream from a major fly ash dump site.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)751-770
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Analytical Chemistry
Issue number11-12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2002



  • Fly ash
  • Leaching experiments
  • Organic compounds
  • Trace metals
  • Ultrasonic extraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Soil Science
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this

Ariese, F., Swart, K., Morabito, R., Brunori, C., Balzamo, S., Slobodnik, J., Korenková, E., Janoš, P., Wildnerova, M., Hlavay, J., Polyák, K., Fodor, P., & Muntau, H. (2002). Leaching studies of inorganic and organic compounds from fly ash. International Journal of Environmental Analytical Chemistry, 82(11-12), 751-770. https://doi.org/10.1080/0306731031000078