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Geochemical Modifications in a Calcic Cambisol by the Impact of an Old Foundry (Coimbra, Central Portugal)

Gouveia, M. Margarida L. C. G. Porto, Silva, M. Manuela Vinha G., Carvalho, Paula C. S.
Soil & sediment contamination 2018 v.27 no.7 pp. 592-618
Cambisols, aluminum oxide, anthropogenic activities, bismuth, copper, geochemistry, guidelines, human health, industry, iron, lead, mineralogy, normal values, physicochemical properties, pollutants, polluted soils, rubidium, silica, slags, soil sampling, strontium, titanium dioxide, toxic substances, zinc, zirconium, Portugal
A great number of potentially toxic elements are introduced into soils by numerous anthropogenic activities, such as the foundry industry and may have negative consequences on the environment and subsequently on human health. This paper reports the characterization of soil samples collected at the facilities of an old foundry, already demolished, that operated during the last century in an industrial area in the Center of Portugal, Coimbra. The mineralogy, physicochemical parameters, and geochemistry of the soil foundry's area, were studied and compared with regional soil parameters to understand the impact of the foundry's activity on the soil. The enrichment and degree of contamination in the factory soil were also assessed, according to public guidelines. Foundry soil was found to exhibit higher average contents of Al₂O₃, Fe₂O₃(t), SiO₂, TiO₂, Zr, Sr, Rb, Pb, Zn, Cu, V, Nb, and Bi, than the corresponding regional baseline values. Specifically, the soil in the foundry area is polluted with Cu, Pb, and Zn. PCA analysis allowed to distinguish the natural soil from the foundry contaminated soil and the contribution of the spent sands and iron slags in the modification of the geochemistry of the regional soil. The contaminants and pollutants are not uniformly distributed as they show the higher concentrations in places of local storage, disposal, and finishing of materials used in the foundry.