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Spatial distribution and contamination assessment of heavy metals in surface soils of Hassi Messaoud, Algeria

Benhaddya, Mohammed L., Hadjel, Mohammed
Environmental earth sciences 2014 v.71 no.3 pp. 1473-1486
anthropogenic activities, cluster analysis, copper, heavy metals, industrialization, lead, manganese, nickel, petroleum, principal component analysis, rural areas, soil, soil pollution, soil sampling, urbanization, wastes, zinc, Algeria
An increase in heavy metal pollution in the soils of Hassi Messaoud (Algeria) due to intense industrialization and urbanization has become a serious environmental problem. There are three large industrial complexes that have been established in the region of Hassi Messaoud for petroleum extraction field and refinery. The region hosts several industrial facilities which are the main sources for hazardous wastes. Surface soil samples from 58 sampling sites (systematically sampled; 1 × 1 km regular grid), including different functional areas in Hassi Messaoud, were collected and analyzed. The results showed that the average concentrations of Cu, Ni, Mn, Pb and Zn in soil of Hassi Messaoud were up to 13.17, 35.78, 121.21, 130.97 and 61.08 mg/kg, respectively. Ni concentrations were comparable to background values, while Cu, Mn, Pb and Zn concentrations were higher than their corresponding background values. Among the functional areas, the industrial regions displayed the highest metal concentrations, while the lowest concentrations occurred in rural soil. Principal component analysis coupled with cluster analysis showed that: (1) Pb and Zn had anthropogenic sources; and (2) Ni, Cu and Mn were associated with parent materials. Contaminations in soils were classified as geoaccumulation index and enrichment factor. Pollution index values of Cu, Ni, Mn, Pb and Zn varied in the range of 0.04–5.41, 0.46–2.49, 0.01–5.73, 0.62–152.9 and 0.09–53.01, with mean values of 1.32, 1.08, 1.26, 5.64 and 3.1, respectively. The integrated pollution index (IPI) of all the analyzed samples varied from 0.42 to 31.59, with a mean of 2.48, and more than 5.45 % of samples are extremely contaminated; 18.18 % are heavily contaminated; 60 % are moderately contaminated; and others are low contaminated. The spatial distribution of IPI showed that desert and rural areas displayed relatively lower heavy metal contamination in comparison with other areas.