The effect of flooding and drainage duration on the release of trace elements from floodplain soils

Kelly, Thomas J.; Hamilton, Elliott; Watts, Michael J.; Ponting, Jessica; Sizmur, Tom. 2020 The effect of flooding and drainage duration on the release of trace elements from floodplain soils. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 39 (11). 2124-2135.

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Floodplains downstream of urban catchments are sinks for potentially toxic trace elements. An intensification of the hydrological cycle and changing land use will result in floodplains becoming inundated for longer durations in the future. We collected intact soil cores from a floodplain meadow downstream of an urban catchment and subjected them to an inundation/drainage cycle in the laboratory to investigate the effect of flood duration on trace element concentrations in the soil porewater. The porewater concentrations of Ni, Cr, and Zn increased, whereas Cu and Pb decreased with flood duration. All the Cr present in porewaters was identified as Cr(III). Copper concentrations increased after drainage but Pb mobility remained suppressed. Both pH and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) increased with flood duration but were lower in treatments that were drained for the longest duration (which were also the treatments flooded for the shortest duration). The porewater concentrations of Cr and Ni decreased after drainage to levels below those observed before inundation, mirroring the DOC concentrations. We concluded that the duration of floodplain inundation does have an influence on the environmental fate of trace elements but that flooding does not influence all trace elements in the same way. The implications of an intensification of the hydrological cycle over the coming decades are that floodplains may become a source of some trace elements to aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Environ Toxicol Chem 2020;39:2124–2135.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0730-7268
Date made live: 03 Dec 2020 13:12 +0 (UTC)

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