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Characterization of Vapor Phase Mercury Released from Concrete Processing with Baghouse Filter Dust Added Cement

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posted on 2014-02-18, 00:00 authored by Jun Wang, Josh Hayes, Chang-Yu Wu, Timothy Townsend, John Schert, Tim Vinson, Katherine Deliz, Jean-Claude Bonzongo
The fate of mercury (Hg) in cement processing and products has drawn intense attention due to its contribution to the ambient emission inventory. Feeding Hg-loaded coal fly ash to the cement kiln introduces additional Hg into the kiln’s baghouse filter dust (BFD), and the practice of replacing 5% of cement with the Hg-loaded BFD by cement plants has recently raised environmental and occupational health concerns. The objective of this study was to determine Hg concentration and speciation in BFD as well as to investigate the release of vapor phase Hg from storing and processing BFD-added cement. The results showed that Hg content in the BFD from different seasons ranged from 0.91–1.44 mg/kg (ppm), with 62–73% as soluble inorganic Hg, while Hg in the other concrete constituents were 1–3 orders of magnitude lower than the BFD. Up to 21% of Hg loss was observed in the time-series study while storing the BFD in the open environment by the end of the seventh day. Real-time monitoring in the bench system indicated that high temperature and moisture can facilitate Hg release at the early stage. Ontario Hydro (OH) traps showed that total Hg emission from BFD is dictated by the air exchange surface area. In the bench simulation of concrete processing, only 0.4–0.5% of Hg escaped from mixing and curing BFD-added cement. A follow-up headspace study did not detect Hg release in the following 7 days. In summary, replacing 5% of cement with the BFD investigated in this study has minimal occupational health concerns for concrete workers, and proper storing and mixing of BFD with cement can minimize Hg emission burden for the cement plant.

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