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Received October 24, 2003,Revised January 12, 2004, Accepted , Available online

Volume 16,2004,Pages 788-792

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The effect of elemental sulfur concentration on bioleaching of Cu, Zn and Pb and loss of fertilizer value from sewage sludge was investigated in flasks by batch experiments. The results showed that the ultimate pH of sludges with 3—5 g/L of sulfur added was about 1.3 and the production of SO2-4 had good correlation with the elemental sulfur concentration. The sensitivity of removal efficiency of metals to sulfur concentration was: Pb>Cu>Zn. The sulfur concentration except for 3—5 g/L had significant effect on the solubilization of Cu, Pb and Zn. The highest solubilization efficiency for sludge with 3 g/L of sulfur was 87.86% for Cu, 32.72% for Pb and 92.14% for Zn, which could make the treated sludge easily meet the metal limitations for land application. The sulfur concentration of 3 g/L was enough for the solubilization of all three heavy metals. The influence of sulfur concentration on solubilization of total nitrogen and potassium from sludge was negligible, but that on solublization of total phosphorus was of great importance. The loss of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium of sludge with 3 g/L of sulfur by bioleaching was 38.2%, 52.1% and 42.8% respectively, and the sludge still remained satisfactory fertilizer value after bioleaching

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