This study investigated the effects of solidification/stabilization (S/S) variables on visible and near-infrared (vis-NIR) spectral reflectance of solidified/stabilized low-temperature thermally desorbed (pre-treated) oil-based drill cuttings. Partial least squares (PLS) regression models were also developed to rapidly estimate the levels of total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH), Cu, and Ba present in the solidified/stabilized matrix. Composite samples of the drill cuttings were collected from a drill cutting Treatment Company in the Niger Delta region (5.317°N and 6.467°E), Nigeria and subjected to cement-based S/S. Reference TPH analysis was done by gas chromatography mass spectrometry and heavy metals by flame atomic absorption spectrometry. Sample optical measurement was carried out with a portable fibre-optic LabSpec2500® vis-NIR spectrophotometer (350–2,500 nm) (PANalytical, Boulder, CO, USA). Results show that spectral absorption minima observed around 1411, 1759, 1950, and 2204 nm in the NIR band are linked to relics of hydrocarbon-based oil, oxides of metallic ions, sulphate, and water (but not necessarily in that order). Spectral reflectance increased with drill cuttings addition, days of curing, and water-to-cement ratio. PLS model predictions were almost good for Cu (validation residual prediction deviation [RPD] = 1.97) and excellent for both TPH and Ba (RPDs = 2.41 and 3.45, respectively). Hence, vis-NIR diffuse reflectance spectroscopy is a potential means for semi-quantitative measurement of the levels of TPH and heavy metals present in cement-based solidified/stabilized pre-treated oil-based drill cuttings.
Key words: Characterization, hazardous waste management, near-infrared spectroscopy, solidification/ stabilization, hydrocarbons, heavy metals
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