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Recovery of nickel and chrome from stainless steel pickling sludge


Is recovery of nickel and chrome from stainless steel pickling sludge possible? Can anybody give me details about the process..and is it economically viable? and how much will the entire project cost?



It is possible, but unlikely to be economically viable. Although you know your situation, we readers don't, Mohitmehta. We don't know if you operate a tabletop pickling line for tiny surgical instruments or whether you are planning to build a centralized recovery system to serve industry from an 800 mile radius. Please give us details about your situation before asking what the plant would cost and whether it is viable. Thanks.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey


Do you have the chemical analysis of the SS pickling sludge, specifically, nickel and chromium (on dry basis)?

T.S.N. Sankara Narayanan
T.S.N. Sankara Narayanan
- Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
(ed.note Nov. 2017: The good doctor has a fascinating blog at


I am also looking to recover material, iron and calcium, from sludge, or get rid of it at a minimum cost.
We run a galvanizing line and the waste water is treated and placed in sludge lagoons. We have 3 sludge lagoons full of this stuff. I have a metal analysis of the sludge and am waiting on a silica analysis.
Sludge is 78% water (22% solids), 6% organics, 3% calcium, 4% iron, 1% zinc, 7% mystery, and the last 1% is insignificant traces of other metals. The sludge has a pH of 8.67.

We do have a 90MW arc steel mill here so, potentially the material could be recycled....

Any ideas what I can do with this stuff?

Aaron Ward

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