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Heavy Metal Contamination

Heavy metals describe common transition metals that have the potential to cause harm in the environment. Some heavy metals such as hexavalent chrome are known carcinogens, while other metals such as zinc provide more of an ecological and phyto-toxic concern.

 

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Chrome VI impacted groundwater
Heavy metals is a term used to describe common transition metals that have the potential to cause harm in the environment. Some heavy metals such as hexavalent chrome are known carcinogens, while other metals such as zinc have eco and phyto-toxic properties. Most heavy metals that enter the environment are as of the result of industrial manufacture e.g. metal plating works or the mining of the ore.

The properties and behaviour of heavy metals are related to environmental conditions. Extreme pH, redox and geology can have a mobilising or immobilising effect on any specific heavy metal dependent on whether it is anionic or cationic. Additionally the presence of other ionic species may have an immobilising effect by complexing the specific heavy metal into an immobile, benign mineral species.

 

Applicable Remediation Technologies

 

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X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometry to allow better soil segregation
The remediation of heavy metals requires a good understanding of the heavy metals being targeted and the conditions of the environment that they are impacting upon.

It is very difficult to extract heavy metals and therefore most techniques used rely on breaking the pathway of migration via altering the properties of the heavy metal e.g. removing its leachability or stopping the mechanisms for its transport e.g. capping, or concentrating/removing the heavy metal containing proportion of the soil to render the majority of the soils suitable for use eg soil washing.

Churngold can offer a range of solutions for Heavy Metal treatment, including:

  • Chemical fixation
  • Chemical alteration/complexation
  • Stabilisation
  • Capping
  • Soil washing
  • Ferric Iron Remediation Stabilisation (FIRS)

FIRS is a unique ‘electrokinetic’ solution that Churngold has developed with the University of Brighton as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership. This technique is particularly successful in the remediation of Chrome VI contamination.