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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 6 No. 2, p. 165-168
    Received: July 12, 1976

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Compounds of Zinc and Copper in Sewage Sludge Determined by Electron Spectroscopy1

  1. C. R. Cothern2,
  2. R. F. Grote2,
  3. W. E. Moddeman3,
  4. C. J. Ritter2 and
  5. E. E. Zamierowski2



Electron Spectroscopy for Chemical Analysis (ESCA) was used to provide information concerning the chemical bonding of zinc and copper present in the sludge obtained from the Dayton, Ohio sewage treatment plant. The binding energy of the Zn 2p3/2 electron in sludge when placed under a vacuum of 10−7 Torr was 1023.8 ± 0.2 eV and the binding energy of the Cu 2p3/2 electron in the sludge under similar conditions was 937.2 ± 0.3 eV. These energies are characteristic of both Zn and Cu being in the positive two oxidation state. The electronegativity of the ligand attached to either of these metals was found to be 3.5 ± 0.1 on the Pauling scale. This indicates that Zn and Cu exist in similar compounds, that the ligand binding site is oxygen, and that the possible compounds include carbonate, carboxylate, phosphate, nitrate, silicate, and/or oxide. ESCA, when used in conjunction with other methods, offers excellent potential for more specifically identifying the chemical form of metal in sludge or sludge mixtures.

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