ECN publication
pH en redox effecten van bouwmaterialen
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Biomass, Coal and Environmental Research 27-9-2010
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-E--07-093 ECN publication
Number of pages: Full text:
112 Download PDF  

The application of relatively fine grained industrial slags as fill material in industrial terrains and parking lots has led to unacceptably elevated pH values and imposed reducing conditions in ground- and surface water. Based on the Dutch Building Materials Decree the materials applied were classified as category 1 materials (free use). There are no limits set to pH and redox in this regulation. In itself a lower or higher pH and a low redox potential are not necessarily critical. Only when the buffer capacity of the surroundings is exceeded, undesirable situations may develop. In this work, the release of alkaline and reducing substances has been studied to assess if regulatory controls are needed and how such controls could be implemented practically. Both pH and redox potential are unsuitable properties for this purpose as it is the buffer capacity of the releasing material and the buffer capacity of the receiving soil and water bodies that determine whether unacceptable conditions develop. As pH and redox are also affected by gas reactions (O2 and CO2), the evaluation becomes relatively complex. Using the chemical speciation-transport model ORCHESTRA, a scenario description has been developed to assess the release of alkaline and reducing species from slag by infiltration under unsaturated conditions. Proper acid neutralization and redox buffering data for the materials were determined. Based on the sophisticated model results, a simplified model description was applied to link observations to impact. Decision schemes for applications above groundwater and in surface water have been developed based on the buffer capacity and particle size distribution of the material to be used, the infiltration rate, the degree of exposure to O2 and CO2 from the atmosphere or from soil air and the dimensions of the application. This has led to a preliminary guidance on implementing rules for acceptance of materials in specific applications. The modeled release predictions still need to be verified against adequate measurements in the field to ensure suitability of the derived limit values.

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