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Old dumps of mercury waste sludges from chlor-alkaline industry are an environmental
threat if not properly secured. Thermal retortion can be used to remove mercury from
such wastes. This treatment reduces the total mercury content, and also may reduce
the leachability of the residual mercury. The effects of treatment temperature and
treatment time on both residual mercury levels and mercury leachability according
to the US EPA TCLP leaching procedure, were investigated. Treatment for 1h at 800°C
allowed to quantitatively remove the mercury. Treatment at 400°C and above allowed
to decrease the leachable Hg contents to below the US EPA regulations. The ultimate
choice of treatment conditions will depend on requirements of further handling options
and cost considerations.