Smelting of copper (Cu) results in the atmospheric deposition of Cu onto surrounding soils. Excess concentrations of Cu in soils can be absorbed by soil biota to toxic levels or leached into the groundwater, threatening the entire ecosystem. A means to restrict Cu mobility and uptake by plants is to remove it from the aqueous phase by applying an adsorptive material. A synthetic clay (highly charged swelling mica) was tested for its ability to decrease the levels of free and 0.1 M KNO3-extractable Cu in 15 surface soils from three different Cu mining areas in central Chile. The soils contained excessive total Cu levels (112-2790 mg Cu (kg soil)(-1)), while extractable Cu ranged from 0.3 to 22.9 mg Cu L(-1). The mica was applied to each soil at rates of 0.1%, 1%, and 2% (w/w). A 2% sodium-montmorillonite treatment and the nonamended soil served as controls. The order of treatment efficacy in reducing extractable Cu and free Cu2+ for low pH soils (<pH 5.5) was: 2% mica > 1% mica > 2% montmorillonite > 0.1% mica. At 120 days, the 2% mica treatment maintained reductions of up to 93% in the free Cu2+ activity and up to 75% in the extractable Cu concentration upon acidification to the original soil pH value. In addition, Cu retention in mica-treated soils was more resistant to acidification than in lime-treated soils. This mica has promise for the remediation of acidic soils with metal contamination at the surface.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chemical remediation has attracted increasing attention for heavy metal contaminated soils because of its relatively low cost and high efficiency. In this study laboratory incubation and column leaching experiments were conducted to understand the mechanisms of copper (Cu) immobilization by calcium water treatment residue (Ca-WTR) and to estimate the optimal rate for remediating Cu-contaminated soils. The results showed that Ca-WTR amendment significantly raised soil pH and decreased water soluble and exchangeable Cu by 62-90% in the contaminated soils. Most of the bioavailable Cu was converted into more stable Cu fractions, i.e. oxides-bound and residual Cu. The cumulative amount of Cu in the leachate after 10 leaching events was reduced by 80% and 73%, respectively for the two tested soils at the Ca-WTR rate of 20 g kg(-1) for Alfisol and 100 g kg(-1) for Spodosol. These results indicate that Ca-WTR is effective in raising soil pH and converting labile Cu to more stable forms in the contaminated soils. A pH value of 6.5 was found to be critical for lowering Cu availability in the soils. Based on this criterion and pH response curve to Ca-WTR application, the optimal rates of Ca-WTR can be estimated for different Cu-contaminated soils.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oenothera picensis plants (Fragrant Evening Primrose) grow in the acid soils contaminated by copper smelting in the coastal region of central Chile. We evaluated the effects of the biodegradable chelate MGDA (methylglycinediacetic acid) on copper extraction by O. picensis and on leaching of copper through the soil profile, using an ex situ experiment with soil columns of varying heights. MGDA was applied in four rates: 0 (control), 2, 6 and 10 mmol plant(-1). MGDA application significantly increased biomass production and foliar concentration, permitting an effective increase in copper extraction, from 0.09 mg plant(-1) in the control, to 1.3mg plant(-1) in the 6 and 10 mmol plant(-1) treatments. With 10 mmol plant(-1) rate of MGDA, the copper concentration in the leachate from the 30 cm columns was 20 times higher than in the control. For the 60 cm columns, copper concentration was 2 times higher than the control. It can be concluded that at increased soil depths, copper leaching would be minimal and that MGDA applications at the studied rates would not pose a high risk for leaching into groundwater. It can thus be stated that applications of MGDA are an effective and environmentally safe way to improve copper extraction by O. picensis in these soils.
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