Main content area

Risk assessment of an abandoned pyrite mine in Spain based on direct toxicity assays

García-Gómez, Concepción, Sánchez-Pardo, Beatriz, Esteban, Elvira, Peñalosa, Jesús Manuel, Fernández, María Dolores
The Science of the total environment 2014 v.470-471 pp. 390-399
Daphnia magna, algae, arsenic, bioavailability, ecotoxicology, groundwater, heavy metals, mining, pyrite, risk, risk assessment, soil pollution, soil properties, soil sampling, toxicity, Spain
This research reports the risk assessment of an abandoned pyrite mine using direct toxicity assays of soil and groundwater samples taken at the site. The toxicity of As and heavy metals from mining soils to soil and aquatic organisms was studied using the Multispecies Soil System (MS-3) in soil columns. Ecotoxicological assessment was performed with soil samples diluted with a control soil at concentrations of 12.5, 25, 50 and 100% test soil/soil (w/w). In this way, changes in the mobility and bioavailability of soil contaminants due to changes in geochemical soil properties via soil dilution were studied. The toxicity of water samples was tested on algae and Daphnia magna. The assessment of the mining area indicated that the current presence of As and heavy metals at the site may cause injuries to soil and aquatic organisms in the entire research area. Moreover, this investigation demonstrated that changes in geochemical conditions can increase the availability of arsenic and, consequently, the environmental risk of these soils. A good correlation was not found between toxicity parameters and the concentrations of soil contaminants based on total and extracted element concentrations. This finding reinforces the usefulness of direct toxicity assays for evaluating environmental risk.