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Russian Journal of Applied Chemistry, Vol. 76, No. 9, 2003, pp. 1476 !1478.

Translated from Zhurnal Prikladnoi Khimii, Vol. 76, No. 9,

2003, pp. 1515!1517.
Original Russian Text Copyright + 2003 by Panov, Gyul’khandan’yan, Pakshver.


Regeneration of Exhausted Chrome Tanning Solutions

from Leather Production as a Method Preventing
Environmental Pollution with Chromium
V. P. Panov, E. M. Gyul’khandan’yan, and A. S. Pakshver
St. Petersburg State University of Technology and Design, St. Petersburg, Russia
Received February 5, 2003

Abstract Photochemical degradation of organic impurities in exhausted chrome tanning solutions is
studied. A method for regeneration of these solutions is proposed, allowing reduction of chromium loss
with wastewater.

Leather production in the volume of water con- filtration. Wide application of the method is also
sumption and, correspondingly, in the volume of limited by high cost and batch process mode.
water supply ranks first among the branches of light
industry. Since tanneries are arranged mostly near The problem of recycling of tanning solutions may
water basins used as sources of drinking and industrial be solved only after solving the problem of removal
water, the problem of preventing pollution of these of organic impurities from them, for example, by
basins with leather production discharges is very degradation. Recent studies demonstrate high effi-
topical. ciency of liquid-phase oxidation of organic impurities
under the combined effect of active oxygen, hydroxy
After tanning of hide (skin after removal of the hair radicals formed in UV treatment of the solutions after
side), 22 to 35% of the chrome tanning agent remains addition of hydrogen peroxide, and ozone. In this
in exhausted tanning solutions, which corresponds to
a residual chromium concentration of 338 g l31 (recal-
case, degradation of organic acids, particularly, amino
acids proceeds more rapidly by two orders of magni-
culated to Cr2O3). According to published data, more tude than with the use of an oxidant only [6, 7].
than 25 000 t of Cr(III) is discharged to the environ-
ment with leather production wastes all over the There is no information in the literature on the
world, whereas the discharge from metallurgical effect of UV irradiation on Cr(III) complexes with
works is about 1500 t [13 4]. amino acids. It may be expected that photolysis will
break down such complexes, providing mineralization
One of the promising ways to reduce the discharge
of the amino acids. As a result, the chrome tanning
of chrome tanning agents and, correspondingly,
agent will be regenerated.
the Cr(III) consumption is recycling of chrome tan-
ning solutions. Recovery of chromium(III) from In this work we studied photochemical degradation
exhausted tanning solutions by precipitation requires of organic impurities with simulated and actual ex-
large amounts of alkaline reagents and sulfuric acid hausted tanning solutions. The process was monitored
for dissolution. The resulting Cr(III) hydroxide sludge by the chemical oxygen demand (COD) using the
is poorly settled and filtered, being contaminated with standard procedure. The amino acid concentration was
residual proteins. determined by paper partition chromatography using
Presently growing efforts are devoted to developing water3acetone3n-propanol3acetic acid (1 : 2 : 1.5 : 0.2)
methods of waste treatment without phase transfer, for as a mobile phase and polarography. Experiments on
example, ultrafiltration on various membranes allow- determination of COD of solutions containing such
ing separation of solutes, fats, and protein residues amino acids as glycine, b-alanine, DL-proline, and
[5]. However, to provide reasonable service life for arginine showed that, under the COD determination
the membranes, the solutions should be pretreated to conditions (boiling in 18 N sulfuric acid for 2 h), the
thoroughly remove suspended materials prior to ultra- degree of mineralization of organic impurities ranges

1070-4272/03/7609-1476$25.00 C 2003 MAIK [Nauka/Interperiodica]