Although, the xanthate process has been shown to be an effective method for heavy metal removal from contaminated water, a heavy metal contaminated residual sludge is produced by the treatment process and the metal-xanthate sludge must be handled in accordance with the Taiwan EPA's waste disposal requirements. This work employed potassium ethyl xanthate (KEX) to remove copper ions from wastewater. The toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP) and semi-dynamic leaching test (SDLT) were used to determine the leaching potential and stability characteristics of the residual copper xanthate (Cu-EX) complexes. Results from metal removal experiments showed that KEX was suitable for the treatment of copper-containing wastewater over a wide copper concentration range (50, 100, 500, and 1000mg/l) to the level that meets the Taiwan EPA's effluent regulations (3mg/l). The TCLP results of the residual Cu-EX complexes could meet the current regulations and thus the Cu-EX complexes could be treated as a non-hazardous material. Besides, the results of SDLT indicated that the complexes exhibited an excellent performance for stabilizing metals under acidic conditions, even slight chemical changes of the complexes occurred during extraction. The xanthate process, mixing KEX with copper-bearing solution to form Cu-EX precipitates, offered a comprehensive strategy for solving both copper-containing wastewater problems and subsequent sludge disposal requirements.
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