Wastewater Monitoring Heavy metals in industrial wastewater and sewage sludges

Analytical methods for the determination of heavy metal contents

As global industrialization progresses, the amount of heavy metals released into the environment increases. Some of these metals are toxic and threaten to pollute the soil and water cycles. The risk of contaminated drinking water and food is increasing, and therefore the health risks for large parts of the population are as well. Continuous monitoring of industrial wastewater and sludge for heavy metals such as cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), nickel (Ni), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), and chromium (Cr) is therefore essential. However, the methods must be fast, easy to use, and deliver reproducible results to enable efficient environmental monitoring. It is not only about proving compliance with legal limits, but also about a reliable decision-making basis for intervention in the event of imminent environmental hazards.

Determining heavy metals in industrial wastewater safely

Many heavy metals such as Pb, Cd, Ni, Cu, Zn, and Cr enter the environment through industrial wastewater. Monitoring this wastewater is a routine task. An easy way to detect these heavy metals is flame AAS. It is a proven and cost-effective technology that has been used in environmental monitoring for many decades. Analytik Jena has continued to refine the technology over the years and today offers customers the most advanced AAS portfolio of any vendor. The throughput and detection power of Analytik Jena’s AAS devices are approaching that of traditional ICP-OES without climbing into their price range, especially for secondary costs. The detection of heavy metals in industrial wastewater using the novAA 800 F is an example of how effective AAS technology can be for this environmental application: The flame AAS method was used here for the determination of Cd and Pb among others. Many users wish to directly analyze these elements from industrial wastewater without complex wet-chemical preparation. The novAA 800 F easily masters this task, as demonstrated by a certified industrial reference material.

The comprehensive Application Note gives you a detailed method description of this application.

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Detecting heavy metals in industrial sludge

There is a danger that heavy metals such as Cd, Pb, Cr, Ni, and Cu will be released into the environment through sewage sludge from industrial plants. Monitoring and analyzing this sludge is key to complying with legal limits and environmental standards and also allows targeted intervention in case of potential environmental hazards. Flame AAS is a simple and robust analytical method for the routine analysis of elements such as Cd and Pb in sewage sludge and other industrial sludge. It is particularly suitable for laboratories with moderate sample volumes. An example study of industrial sludges with Analytik Jena’s novAA 800 F demonstrates this in an impressive way: Cd, Pb, and some other heavy metals should have been detected in sludge samples. Samples from industrial sludge are often high-matrix samples, which means a higher sample carryover risk for conventional analyzers. The novAA 800 F minimizes the risk of carryover and ensures efficient detection of heavy metals without complex wet-chemical sample preparation.

Ideal elemental spectrometry of sludge and wastewater with AAS and ICP-MS

We offer a wide range of solutions for the routine analysis of industrial sludge and waste water for toxic and eco-toxic elements. The technological basis for this is our globally leading product portfolio for elemental spectrometry. In particular, flame AAS to routinely monitor medium heavy metal concentrations and ICP-MS for trace and speciation analysis of heavy metals are suitable for analyzing industrial wastewater and sludge. Systems like the PlasmaQuant MS, contrAA 800, and novAA 800 are characterized by particularly high longevity and detection strength, and low maintenance and operating costs. They can also be adapted in detail to almost any application thanks to a comprehensive range of accessories.

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