Sustainable use of tannery sludge in brick manufacturing in Bangladesh.

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Waste management (New York, N.Y.), ISSN: 1879-2456, Vol: 60, Page: 259-269

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Juel, Md Ariful Islam; Mizan, Al; Ahmed, Tanvir
Elsevier BV
Environmental Science
article description
Chromium-rich tannery sludge generated from tanneries has the potential to become a serious environmental burden in Bangladesh and a promising avenue for disposal of this sludge is by stabilizing it in clay brick products. But for sustainable industrial application of such technique it needs to be ensured first that the engineering properties of bricks as a building material are not diminished by addition of sludge, the process becomes energy efficient compared to alternatives and the use of such bricks do not pose any harmful environmental effects in the long run. In this study, clay bricks were prepared with different proportions of sludge (10%, 20%, 30% and 40% by dry weight) in both laboratory-controlled and field conditions and their suitability as a construction material was assessed based on their strength, water absorption, shrinkage, weight-loss on ignition and bulk density. For the sludge incorporated bricks, the compressive strength ranged from 10.98MPa to 29.61MPa and water absorption ranged from 7.2% to 20.9%, which in most cases met both the Bangladesh and ASTM criteria for bricks as a construction material. Volumetric shrinkage, weight loss and efflorescence properties of sludge-amended bricks were found to be favorable and it was estimated that an energy saving of 15-47% could potentially be achieved during firing with 10-40% tannery sludge-amended bricks. The quality of sludge-amended bricks made in the brick kiln was relatively inferior compared to bricks produced in the laboratory due to operating in a less-controlled environment with respect to maintaining adequate compaction and optimum moisture content. The leaching behavior of several heavy metals (Cr, As, Cu, Ni, Cd, Pb and Zn) from sludge-amended bricks has been found to be insignificant and far below the Dutch regulations and USEPA regulatory limits. Results from this study indicate that tannery sludge can be sustainably stabilized in clay bricks and large-scale application of this technique can be envisaged in the context of Bangladesh where brick remains a dominant building material.