This paper reports on the chemical extraction efficiency in the removal of heavy metals from sludge from an activated-sludge system, which receives as influent both industrial and municipal wastewater. Utilizing a series of chemical extractants in a sequential order comprised the first phase of the research, called sequential chemical extraction (SCE). The work started with the well-known Tessier method followed by Veeken and by Sims and Kline SCE schemes. Afterwards, modified versions of Tessier and Veeken schemes were applied. The second phase, named chemical extraction using pH progressive changes, concerns an alternative to the extraction process. Four acids were tested: nitric, hydrochloric, oxalic and citric and the pH values as well as the time were varied. Some conclusions reveal that although modifying Tessier and Veeken schemes provides more consistent results, SCE is still an imperfect method regarding specificity and selectivity. Besides, it is not advisable to apply one SCE scheme developed for one specific situation to another one, once the accurateness of the method depends on several factors such as sort of material and chemicals, contact time, temperature, etc. The extraction efficiency increases using nitric or hydrochloric acids at low pH values, promoting high extraction efficiency level.

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