The Potential of Remedial Techniques for Hazard Reduction of Steel Process by Products: Impact on Steel Processing, Waste Management, the Environment and Risk to Human Health

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Jun 13;16(12):2093. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16122093.


The negative impact from industrial pollution of the environment is still a global occurrence, and as a consequence legislation and subsequent regulation is becoming increasingly stringent in response, in particular, to minimising potential impact on human health. These changes have generated growing pressures for the steel industry to innovate to meet new regulations driving a change to the approach to waste management across the industrial landscape, with increasing focus on the principles of a circular economy. With a knowledge of the compositional profiles of process by-products, we have assessed chemical cleaning to improve environmental performance and minimise disruption to manufacturing processes, demonstrating re-use and recycling capacity. We show that with a knowledge of phase composition, we are able to apply stabilisation methods that can either utilise waste streams directly or allow manipulation, making them suitable for re-use and/or inert disposal. We studied blast furnace slags and Portland cement mixes (50%/50% and 30%/70%) with a variety of other plant wastes (electrostatic precipitator dusts (ESP), blast furnace (BF) sludge and basic oxygen furnace (BOF) sludge) which resulted in up to 90% immobilisation of hazardous constituents. The addition of organic additives i.e., citric acid can liberate or immobilise problematic constituents; in the case of K, both outcomes occurred depending on the waste type; ESP dust BF sludge and BOF fine sludge. Pb and Zn however were liberated with a 50-80% and 50-60% residue reduction respectively, which generates possibilities for alternative uses of materials to reduce environmental and human health impact.

Keywords: remediation of hazardous waste; steel process by-products; waste cleaning technologies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Environment
  • Humans
  • Industrial Waste*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Steel*
  • Waste Management / methods*


  • Industrial Waste
  • Steel