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In-situ assessment of metal contamination via portable X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy: Zlatna, Romania

Weindorf, David C., Paulette, Laura, Man, Titus
Environmental pollution 2013 v.182 pp. 92-100
X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, arsenic, atomic absorption spectrometry, cadmium, cobalt, copper, digestion, geographic information systems, georeferencing, lead, mining, models, multiple land use, polluted soils, pollution, remote sensing, soil sampling, Romania
Zlatna, Romania is the site of longtime mining/smelting operations which have resulted in widespread metal pollution of the entire area. Previous studies have documented the contamination using traditional methods involving soil sample collection, digestion, and quantification via inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy or atomic absorption. However, field portable X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (PXRF) can accurately quantify contamination in-situ, in seconds. A PXRF spectrometer was used to scan 69 soil samples in Zlatna across multiple land use types. Each site was georeferenced with data inputted into a geographic information system for high resolution spatial interpolations. These models were laid over contemporary aerial imagery to evaluate the extent of pollution on an individual elemental basis. Pb, As, Co, Cu, and Cd exceeded governmental action limits in >50% of the sites scanned. The use of georeferenced PXRF data offers a powerful new tool for in-situ assessment of contaminated soils.