Mobility and Transport of Inorganic Species in Weathered Hydraulic Disposed Coal Fly Ash: An Insight from Geochemical Fractionation and Statistical Evaluation
A large volume of coal fly ash generated through combustion process has raised environmental concerns due to possible release of potentially toxic species to the surface and groundwater systems. The chemical partitioning and mobility of elements in the hydraulic disposed ash dump was investigated using modified sequential extraction scheme. The geochemical distribution of the investigated elements in 33 drilled core samples was determined by x-ray fluorescence and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The ternary plot of major elements as determined by XRF showed that hydraulic disposed ash cores are sialic, ferrosialic and ferrocalsialic in chemical composition. The relationship between SiO2 and chemical index of alteration (CIA) showed low, moderate to high degree of weathering. These chemical compositions and degree of chemical weathering depend on the ash sampling point and ash interaction chemistry. The Na+ and K+ soluble salts showed evidence of leaching and downward migration in the water soluble fraction indicating that the hydraulic disposed ash dump is not a sustainable salt sink. The geochemical partitioning reveals that mobility and transport of potentially toxic metal species are governed by the pore water pH, ash interaction chemistry and the sampling point of the ash cores. The chemical interaction of drilled core ash with the ingress CO2 and percolating rain water led to dissolution and co-precipitation of soluble major components in fly ash. This had led to incoherent patterns of elements in carbonate fraction of the ash cores.
Key words: Modified sequential extraction; Hydraulic disposed ash; Chemical index of alteration; Pore water pH; Ash interaction chemistry; Moisture content; Chemical weathering
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