Fractionation and elemental association of Zn, Cd and Pb in soils contaminated by Zn minings using a continuous-flow sequential extraction

Janya Buanuam, Juwadee Shiowatana, Pichit Pongsakul
Journal of Environmental Monitoring: JEM 2005, 7 (8): 778-84
Fractionation and elemental association of Zn, Cd, and Pb in soils near Zn mining areas were studied using a continuous-flow sequential extraction approach. The recently developed sequential extraction procedure not only gave fractional distribution data for evaluation of the mobility or potential environmental impact of the metals, but also the extraction profiles (extractograms) which were used for study of elemental association. In addition, the elemental atomic ratio plot extractogram can be used to demonstrate the degree of anthropogenic contamination. Seventy-nine soil samples were collected in the vicinity of a Zn mine and were fractionated into 4 phases i.e. exchangeable (F1), acid soluble (F2), reducible (F3) and oxidizable (F4) phases. Most samples were contaminated with Zn, Cd and Pb. The reducible phase is the most abundant fraction for Zn and Pb (>50%) while Cd is concentrated in the first 3 extraction steps. The distribution patterns of Cd were obviously affected by soil pH. 55% of Cd appears predominantly in the F1 fraction for acidic soils while in neutral and alkaline soils, it was mostly (70%) found in the F2 + F3 fractions. The extractograms obtained from the continuous-flow extraction system revealed close association between Zn, Cd, Pb and Fe in the acid soluble phase, Cd-Pb and Zn-Fe in the reducible phase for contaminated soils. A correlation study of the 3 metals using a correlation coefficient was also performed to compare the results with the elemental association revealed by the extractograms. Atomic ratio plot extractograms of Zn/Fe, Cd/Fe and Pb/Fe in the reducible phase, where contaminated metals are predominant, can be used to evaluate the degree of anthropogenic contamination. From the elemental atomic ratio plot, it is obvious that the contaminants Cd and Pb are mostly adsorbed on the surface of Fe oxides. Zn, which is present in an approximately 1 ratio 1 ratio with Fe in contaminated soils, does not show a similar trend to that found for Cd and Pb.

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