Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 36, pp 36014–36023 | Cite as

Upscaling the pollutant emission from mixed recycled aggregates under compaction for civil applications

  • Adela P. GalvínEmail author
  • Jesús Ayuso
  • Auxi Barbudo
  • Manuel Cabrera
  • Antonio López-Uceda
  • Julia Rosales
Sustainable Waste Management


In general terms, plant managers of sites producing construction wastes assess materials according to concise, legally recommended leaching tests that do not consider the compaction stage of the materials when they are applied on-site. Thus, the tests do not account for the real on-site physical conditions of the recycled aggregates used in civil works (e.g., roads or embankments). This leads to errors in estimating the pollutant potential of these materials. For that reason, in the present research, an experimental procedure is designed as a leaching test for construction materials under compaction. The aim of this laboratory test (designed specifically for the granular materials used in civil engineering infrastructures) is to evaluate the release of pollutant elements when the recycled aggregate is tested at its commercial grain-size distribution and when the material is compacted under on-site conditions. Two recycled aggregates with different gypsum contents (0.95 and 2.57%) were used in this study. In addition to the designed leaching laboratory test, the conventional compliance leaching test and the Dutch percolation test were performed. The results of the new leaching method were compared with the conventional leaching test results. After analysis, the chromium and sulphate levels obtained from the newly designed test were lower than those obtained from the conventional leaching test, and these were considered more seriously pollutant elements. This result confirms that when the leaching behaviour is evaluated for construction aggregates without density alteration, crushing the aggregate and using only the finest fraction, as is done in the conventional test (which is an unrealistic situation for aggregates that are applied under on-site conditions), the leaching behaviour is not accurately assessed.


Sustainable construction Leaching tests Construction and demolition waste Recycled aggregates On-site conditions Civil engineering 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Construction EngineeringUniversity of CórdobaCórdobaSpain

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