The case study simulates the release of phosphogypsum sludge from the Lebanon Chemicals Company s.a.l. (LCC),
Selaata, Lebanon, to assess possible impacts on the marine environment.
Selaata is located on the Mediaterranean coast, North of Batroun, itself North of Beirut.
The priamry or master domain for the study cover a 12 by 12 km square, within which several smaller model domains are defined.
The LCC fertilizer factory
The LCC, Lebanon Chemicals Company s.a.l. is located directly on the Mediterranean coast
South of the Selaata harbor, manufactures phosphate fertilisers from phosphate rock that
also copntains heavy metals such as cadmium and vanadium.
A a waste product from the frertilizer production, acidic sludge containing primarily phosphogypsum
is discharged into the sea, 25,000 m3/day, according to Greenpeace
Phosphogypsum is by-product and waste from processing phosphate
rock by the "wet acid" method of fertilizer production.
About Phosphogypsum, US EPA.
The phosphoric acid produced is a valuable component of fertilizer. The
leftover phosphogypsum is in the form of a solid/water mixture (slurry)
which in the case of LCC is being discharged into the sea.
Major environmental concerns relate to the acidity and heavy metals:
phosphogypsum contains some trace metals in concentrations that EPA believes may pose
a chemical hazard to human health and the environment. Analysis of samples
from various facilities contained arsenic, lead, cadmium, chromium, fluoride, zinc, antimony, and copper
at concentrations that may pose significant health risks. The concentrations of these contaminants vary
by more than three orders of magnitude among samples taken from various locations.
These trace metals may also be leached from phosphogypsum and migrate to nearby surface and groundwater resources,
or be directly released to coastal waters.
Another environmental concern is radioactivity.
The USEPA reports examples for phosphogypsum from Florida:
The concentrations of uranium and radium-226 in phosphogypsum samples
taken in central Florida were about 10 times the background levels in soil
for uranium and 60 times the background levels in soil for radium-226.
The radium-226 concentration in phosphogypsum varies significantly at different
For more examples from the phosphogypsum in in Florida, see:
from the Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute.