Predicting trace metal solubility and fractionation in urban soils from isotopic exchangeability

Mao, L.C.; Young, S.D.; Tye, A.M.; Bailey, E.H.. 2017 Predicting trace metal solubility and fractionation in urban soils from isotopic exchangeability. Environmental Pollution, 231 (2). 1529-1542.

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Metal-salt amended soils (MA, n = 23), and historically-contaminated urban soils from two English cities (Urban, n = 50), were investigated to assess the effects of soil properties and contaminant source on metal lability and solubility. A stable isotope dilution method, with and without a resin purification step, was used to measure the lability of Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn. For all five metals in MA soils, lability (%E-values) could be reasonably well predicted from soil pH value with a simple logistic equation. However, there was evidence of continuing time-dependent fixation of Cd and Zn in the MA soils, following more than a decade of storage under air-dried conditions, mainly in high pH soils. All five metals in MA soils remained much more labile than in Urban soils, strongly indicating an effect of contaminant source on metal lability in the latter. Metal solubility was predicted for both sets of soil by the geochemical speciation model WHAM-VII, using E-value as an input variable. For soils with low metal solution concentrations, over-estimation of Cd, Ni and Zn solubility was associated with binding to the Fe oxide fraction while accurate prediction of Cu solubility was dependent on humic acid content. Lead solubility was most poorly described, especially in the Urban soils. Generally, slightly poorer estimation of metal solubility was observed in Urban soils, possibly due to a greater incidence of high pH values. The use of isotopically exchangeable metal to predict solubility is appropriate both for historically contaminated soils and where amendment with soluble forms of metal is used, as in toxicological trials. However, the major limitation to predicting solubility may lie with the accuracy of model input variables such as humic acid and Fe oxide contents where there is often a reliance on relatively crude analytical estimations of these variables. Trace metal reactivity in urban soils depends on both soil properties and the original source material; the WHAM geochemical model predicts solubility using isotopically exchangeable metal as an input.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 02697491
Date made live: 16 Jan 2018 13:12 +0 (UTC)

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