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Heavy Metal Release from Contaminated Soils: Comparison of Column Leaching and Batch Extraction Results

Voegelin, Andreas, Barmettler, Kurt, Kretzschmar, Ruben
Journal of environmental quality 2003 v.32 no.3 pp. 865-875
acidification, cadmium, calcium, calcium carbonate, calcium chloride, copper, environmental quality, heavy metals, leaching, lead, magnesium, pH, polluted soils, soil acidification, zinc
Heavy metals in soils may adversely affect environmental quality. In this study, we investigated the release of Zn, Cd, Pb, and Cu from four contaminated soils by column leaching and single and sequential batch extractions. Homogeneously packed soil columns were leached with 67 mL/g 10−2 M CaCl2 to investigate the exchangeable metal pool and subsequently with 1400 mL/g 10−2 M CaCl2 adjusted to pH 3 to study the potential of metal release in response to soil acidification. In two noncalcareous soils (pH 5.7 and 5.1), exchange by Ca resulted in pronounced release peaks for Zn and Cd that were coupled to the exchange of Mg by Ca, and 40 to 70% of total Zn and Cd contents were rapidly mobilized. These amounts compared well with exchangeable pools determined in single and sequential batch extractions. In two soils with near-neutral pH, the effluent concentrations of Zn and Cd were several orders of magnitude lower and no pronounced elution peaks were observed. This behavior was also observed for Cu and Pb in all four soils. When the soils were leached at pH 3, the column effluent patterns reflected the coupling of CaCO3 dissolution (if present) and other proton buffering reactions, proton-induced metal release, and metal-specific readsorption within the soil column. Varying the flow rate by a factor of five had only minor effects on the release patterns. Overall, Ca exchange and subsequent acidification to pH 3 removed between 65 and 90% of total Zn, Cd, Pb, and Cu from the four contaminated soils.