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Ecological risk assessment of heavy metals in salt-affected soils in the Natura 2000 area (Ciechocinek, north-central Poland)

Bartkowiak, Agata, Lemanowicz, Joanna, Hulisz, Piotr
Environmental science and pollution research international 2017 v.24 no.35 pp. 27175-27187
European Union, anthropogenic activities, cadmium, clay fraction, copper, correlation, electrical conductivity, environmental assessment, enzyme activity, enzymes, habitats, halophytes, heavy metals, land management, lead, organic matter, phytoremediation, risk, risk assessment, sewage, sorption, zinc, Poland
This paper aimed to evaluate the ecological risk posed by the accumulation of heavy metals in the salt-affected soils of the habitat covered by the EU Natura 2000 program in relation to the activity of soil redox enzymes. The research was carried out in the halophyte reserve in Ciechocinek (north-central Poland) which is a very specific habitat as it undergoes a long-term human impact related to both the operation of the medical spa town and the agricultural use of soils in the adjacent areas. The obtained results showed that the content of Zn, Cu, Pb, and Cd in the studied soils exceeded the Polish standards. Based on the obtained data and statistical analysis, it was found that metals may come from two different sources: emission from household boiler rooms (Pb, Cd) and corroded brine sewage pipeline (Zn, Cu).They are characterized by limited mobility due to alkaline environment and strong sorption properties of the clay fraction and organic matter. The correlation analysis indicates that the dehydrogenase activities were negatively correlated with soil electrical conductivity (EC₁:₅) (r = − 0.665, P < 0.05). Taking into account the protective status of the area, it is difficult to indicate definitely the solution concerning the land management. However, according to the authors, one should pay special attention to a possibility of using halophytes which occur within the reserve for phytoremediation.