The present paper estimates the utilisation of bulky wastes (minestone, steel slag, phosphorus slag and demolition waste) in hydraulic engineering structures in Dutch parts of the rivers Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt over the period 1980-2025. Although they offer several economic, technical and environmental benefits, these secondary building materials contain various metals that may leach into river water. A leaching model was used to predict annual emissions of arsenic, cadmium, copper, chromium, lead, mercury, nickel and zinc. Under the current utilisation and model assumptions, the contribution of secondary building materials to metal pollution in Dutch surface waters is expected to be relatively low compared to other sources (less than 0.1% and 0.2% in the years 2000 and 2025, respectively). However, continued and widespread large-scale applications of secondary building materials will increase pollutant leaching and may require further cuts to be made in emissions from other sources to meet emission reduction targets and water quality standards. It is recommended to validate available leaching models under various field conditions. Complete registration of secondary building materials will be required to improve input data for leaching models.

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