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Significance and behaviour of heavy metals in waste water treatment processes III. Speciation in waste waters and related complex matrices

The Science of The Total Environment
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0048-9697(84)90045-7


Abstract The methods for determining discrete heavy metals species or groups of species in sewage, sewage effluent and sewage sludge samples have been reviewed, with particular reference to the determination of stability constants of the complexes formed with organic ligands. The drawbacks of several methods arising from the complex nature of these types of sample have been discussed together with the inaccuracies which may be caused by the relative non-specificity of some analytical techniques for the metal species of interest. Typical results obtained by these methods have been presented and these indicate that free metal ions are relatively scarce in sewage matrices and that soluble and surface bound organic ligands represent the predominant species in many instances. The poor removal efficiencies of some metals in sewage treatment may be due to the formation of complexes with soluble ligands which are much more stable than solid phase complexes.

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