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Effect of EDTA washing of metal polluted garden soils. Part I: Toxicity hazards and impact on soil properties

Jelusic, Masa, Lestan, Domen
The Science of the total environment 2014 v.475 pp. 132-141
EDTA (chelating agent), bioavailability, cadmium, environmental hazards, enzyme activity, field experimentation, fractionation, horticultural soils, humans, leaching, lead, lysimeters, polluted soils, remediation, soil biota, soil enzymes, soil properties, soil quality, soil respiration, soil washing, toxicity, vegetable gardens, washing, water holding capacity, zinc, Slovenia
We applied a multi-level approach assessing the quality, toxicity and functioning of Pb, Zn and Cd contaminated/remediated soil from a vegetable garden in Meza Valley, Slovenia. Contaminated soil was extracted with EDTA and placed into field experimental plots equipped with lysimeters. Soil properties were assessed by standard pedological analysis. Fractionation and leachability of toxic metals were analyzed by sequential extraction and TCLP and metal bioaccessibility by UBM tests. Soil respiration and enzyme activities were measured as indicators of soil functioning. Remediation reduced the metal burden by 80, 28 and 72% for Pb, Zn and Cd respectively, with a limited impact on soil pedology. Toxic metals associated with labile soil fractions were largely removed. No shifts between labile and residual fractions were observed during the seven months of the experiment. Initial metal leaching measured through lysimeters eventually ceased. However, remediation significantly diminished potential soil enzyme activity and no trends were observed of the remediated soil recovering its biological properties. Soil washing successfully removed available forms of Pb, Zn and Cd and thus lowered the human and environmental hazards of the remediated soil; however, remediation also extracted the trace elements essential for soil biota. In addition to reduced water holding capacity, soil health was not completely restored.