Heavy metal concentration in sludge is one of the major obstacles for the application of sludge on land. There are various methods for the removal of heavy metals in sludge. Using sulfur oxidizing bacteria for microbiological removal of heavy metals from sludges is an outstanding option because of high metal solubilization rates and the low cost. In this study, bioleaching by indigenous sulfur oxidizing bacteria was applied to sludges generated from the co-treatment of municipal wastewater and leachate for the removal of selected heavy metals. Sulfur oxidizing bacteria were acclimated to activated sludge. The effect of the high organic content of leachate on the bioleaching process was investigated in four sets of sludges having different concentrations of leachate. Sludges in Sets A, B, C and D were obtained from co-treatment of wastewater and 3%, 5%, 7% and 10% (v/v) leachate respectively. The highest Cr, Ni and Fe solubilization was obtained from Set A. Sulfur oxidizing bacteria were totally inhibited in Set D that received the highest volume of leachate.

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