Leaching from contaminated soils – non-hazardous or hazardous?

Our cooperation with the Department of Geochemistry, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University in Bratislava led to remarkable results, which have been recently published in Environmental Pollution journal. Two groups of soils affected by different types of industrial activity (mining soils and soils mixed with coal ash) with different soil natural pH (3.9–7.6) were subjected to a metal(loid) leaching study in the presence of nanoscale zero-valent iron (nZVI) and amorphous manganese oxide (AMO) as immobilising amendments.

The results showed that pH was the main factor influencing metal(loid) leaching as well as the inherent stability of the amendments. The As water-soluble concentrations decreased significantly in nZVI-amended soils and were below the hazardous waste category for As. Moreover, nZVI demonstrated great potential in immobilising Sb, often present as a trace element in post-mining and smelting areas, but often ignored in terms of chemical immobilisation. Concerning the remediation potential, nZVI was more suitable for decreasing As and Sb release compared to AMO. In perspective, nZVI can be recommended even at a relatively low dose (1 wt%) for the application to soils co-contaminated with As and Sb in a wide pH range, which increases its cost-efficiency.

Hiller E., Jurkovič Ľ., Faragó T., Vítková M., Tóth R., Komárek M., 2021. Contaminated soils of different natural pH and industrial origin: The role of (nano) iron- and manganese-based amendments in As, Sb, Pb, and Zn leachability. Environmental Pollution 285, 117268. DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2021.117268.

Read the paper here.

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