Krzysztof Gondek, Monika Mierzwa-Hersztek, Bożena Smreczak, Agnieszka Baran, Michał Kopeć, Tomasz Mróz, Paweł Janowski, Tomasz Bajda and Anna Tomczyk
The aim of this research was to determine the effect of thermal conversion temperature and plant material addition to sewage sludge on the PAHs content and the activity of selected γ-radionuclides in biochars, and to conduct an ecotoxicological assessment. The pyrolysis of the mixtures of sewage sludge and plant materials at 300°C and such temperature caused an increase in the contents of 2- and 3-ring hydrocarbons. During the pyrolysis of organic materials at 600°C, the amount of the following compounds was reduced in biochars: benzo[b]fluoranthene, benzo[k]fluoranthene, benzo[a]pyrene, indeno[1,2,3c,d]pyrene, dibenzo[a,h]anthracene, and benzo[g,h,i]perylene. Among γ-radioisotopes of the elements, natural radiogenic isotopes were dominant. 137Cs was the only artificial radioactive isotope. The pyrolysis of the mixtures of municipal sewage sludge and plant materials revealed that isotope 40K had the highest radioactive activity. In the case of other analysed nuclides, activities of 212Pb, 214Pb, 214Bi, and 137Cs were determined after the sample pyrolysis. The extracts from the mixtures of sewage sludge and plant materials were non-toxic to Vibrio fischeri.