This study was conducted on two batch-type medical waste incinerators (MWIs), including the one with a mechanical grate (MG-MWI) and the other with a fixed grate (FG-MWI) for the disposal of general medical waste and special medical waste, respectively. Both incinerators shared the same air-pollution control devices which were installed in series, including one electrostatic precipitator (ESP) and one wet scrubber (WSB). In addition to the investigated emissions of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from both types of MWIs, the PAH removal efficiencies of air-pollution control devices were also included. In this study, the GC/MS technique was used to analyze the concentrations of 21 PAH species contained in the stack flue gas, ESP fly ash, WSB effluent, and incinerating ash. Results show that total-PAHs (i.e., the sum of 21 PAH species) in stack flue gas were dominated by LM-PAHs (i.e., two- to three-ringed PAHs), but in incinerating ash, ESP fly ash and WSB effluent we found that they were dominated by MM-PAHs (i.e., four-ringed PAHs) and HM-PAHs (i.e., five- to seven-ringed PAHs) for both types of MWIs. The above results due to air-pollution control devices used in both types of MWIs had much higher removal efficiencies on both MM-PAHs and HM-PAHs (>78%) than on LM-PAHs (<5%). The emission factors of total-PAHs for MG-MWI (=252,000μg/kg-waste) were lower than FG-MWI (=856,000μg/kg-waste), which was probably due to more complete combustion involved in the combustion process of the former than the latter. Nevertheless, the above two emission factors were found consistently higher than the only municipal waste incinerator that was located in the same city (=871μg/kg-waste, respectively). The above results warrant the need for seeking better technologies for disposing medical waste in the future.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Science(all)
- Atmospheric Science