The potential impact of municipal solid waste incinerators ashes on the anthropogenic osmium budget.


Osmium release from Municipal Solid Waste Incinerators (MSWI), even if acknowledged to occur at least over the last fifteen years, remains overlooked in the majority of recent studies. We present the osmium concentration and (187)Os/(188)Os isotopic measurements of different kinds of bottom and fly ash samples from MSWI plants and reference materials of incinerator fly ash (BCR176 and BCR176R). The analysis of the unknown ash samples shows a relatively wide range of (187)Os/(188)Os ratios (0.24-0.70) and Os concentrations (from 0.026 ng/g to 1.65 ng/g). Osmium concentrations and isotopic signatures differ from those of other known Os sources, either natural or manmade, suggesting a mixture of both contributions in the MSWI feedstock material. Furthermore, the comparison between the BCR176 and the renewed BCR176R indicates a decrease in Os concentration of one order of magnitude over the years (from 1 to 0.1 ng/g) due to improved recycling efficiency of Os-bearing waste. The estimated annual amount of Os from a typical incinerator (using average Os values and MSWI mass balance) is 13.4 g/a. The osmium potentially released from MSWI smokestacks is predicted to be from 16 to 38 ng Os/m(2)/a, considering a medium size country having 50 MSWI facilities; therefore much higher than the naturally transported osmium from continental dust in the atmosphere (about 1 pg Os/m(2)/a). MSWI systems are considered one of the best options for municipal solid waste management in industrialised countries, but their contribution to the Os budget can be significant.

DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.10.014

Cite this paper

@article{Funari2016ThePI, title={The potential impact of municipal solid waste incinerators ashes on the anthropogenic osmium budget.}, author={Valerio Funari and Thomas Meisel and Roberto Ruggiero Braga}, journal={The Science of the total environment}, year={2016}, volume={541}, pages={1549-1555} }