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Assessment of pollution of potentially harmful elements in soils surrounding a municipal solid waste incinerator, China

Han, Ying, Xie, Huiting, Liu, Wenbin, Li, Haifeng, Wang, Mengjing, Chen, Xuebin, Liao, Xiao, Yan, Nan
Frontiers of environmental science & engineering 2016 v.10 no.6 pp. 7
arsenic, chromium, copper, fluorescence, fly ash, incinerators, lead, manganese, mercury, municipal solid waste, neoplasms, nickel, pH, pollution, risk, risk assessment, soil, spectrometers, wind direction, zinc, China
We assessed the contamination levels of Mn, Zn, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, As and Hg and the risks posed by these potentially harmful elements in top-soils around a municipal solid waste incinerator (MSWI).We collected 20 soil samples, with an average pH of 8.1, and another fly ash sample emitted from the MSWI to investigate the concentrations of these elements in soils. We determined the concentrations of these elements by inductively coupled plasma–optical emission spectrometer (ICP-OES), except for Hg, which we measured by AF-610B atomic fluorescence spectrometer (AFS). We assessed the risks of these elements through the use of geoaccumulation index (I gₑₒ), potential ecological risk index (RI), hazard quotient (HQ ᵢ) and cancer risk (Risk ᵢ). The results showed that concentrations of potentially harmful elements in soil were influenced by the wind direction, and the concentrations of most elements were higher in the area northwest of the MSWI, compared with the area southeast of the incinerator, with the exception of As; these results were in accordance with those results acquired from our contour maps. According to the I gₑₒ values, some soil samples were clearly polluted by Hg emissions. However, the health risk assessment indicated that the concentrations of Hg and other elements in soil did not pose non-carcinogenic risks to the local populations. This was also the case for the carcinogenic risks posed by As, Cr, and Ni. The carcinogenic risk posed by As was higher, in the range 6.49 × 10–⁶–9.58 × 10–⁶, but this was still considered to be an acceptable level of risk.