Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 20, pp 19808–19817 | Cite as

Leachate phytotoxicity of flue gas desulfurization residues from coal-fired power plant

  • Khamphe Phoungthong
  • Pin-Jing He
  • Li-Ming Shao
  • Hua ZhangEmail author
Research Article


Flue gas desulfurization residues (FGDR) are the main solid wastes produced in coal-fired power plants that can be reused as alternative materials for civil and agricultural applications. However, the pollutants contained in the FGDR might contaminate the local environment, hindering their material reuse. In this study, the physical-chemical characteristics, leaching, and phytotoxicity (Triticum aestivum) of the material were investigated. The FGDR samples were obtained from three pulverized coal-fired power plants in China. Multivariate statistical analyses were used to consider the contributions of the leaching components to the germination index of wheat seeds in the FGDR leachates. The FGDR contained a high percentage of amorphous mass. The ranges of selected metals and micronutrients in the FGDR are As (31.5–63.0 mg/kg), B (574–3090 mg/kg), Ba (2799–3073 mg/kg), Cr (up to 4.73 mg/kg), Cu (0.29–1.38 mg/kg), Mn (136–370 mg/kg), Ni (9.93–22.9 mg/kg), Pb (1.29–7.29 mg/kg), Sr (886–1706 mg/kg), and Zn (335–458 mg/kg). The leaching toxicity of the FGDR leachates was lower than the regulatory limit of the identification standards for hazardous waste, indicating that the FGDR are non-hazardous materials. Metals, especially Ba, Cu, Fe, and Pb, as well as As and B, in the leachate had inhibitory effects on seed germination than the other constituents. The results in this study showed that the leachate phytotoxicity resulting from FGDR could be evaluated before the utilization of FGDR, giving crucial information for the adaptation of these alternative materials.


Flue gas desulfurization residues Phytotoxicity Triticum aestivum Multivariate analysis 


Funding information

This research received financial supports from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21577102), the major Science and Technology Program for Water Pollution Control and Treatment (2017ZX07202005), the National Social Science Fund of China (No.12&ZD236), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_2207_MOESM1_ESM.doc (266 kb)
Supplementary material (Tables S1–S9) associated with this article can be found in the supplementary material. (DOC 266 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Khamphe Phoungthong
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Pin-Jing He
    • 1
    • 4
  • Li-Ming Shao
    • 1
    • 4
  • Hua Zhang
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Waste Treatment and ReclamationTongji UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Environmental Assessment and Technology for Hazardous Waste Management Research Center, Faculty of Environmental ManagementPrince of Songkla UniversitySongkhlaThailand
  3. 3.Center of Excellence on Hazardous Substance Management (HSM)BangkokThailand
  4. 4.Centre for the Technology Research and Training on Household Waste in Small Towns & Rural AreaMinistry of Housing and Urban–Rural Development of PR China (MOHURDShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  5. 5.State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control & Resource ReuseTongji UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China

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