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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Mangrove Soils in Removing Pollutants from Municipal Wastewater of Different Salinities


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 28 No. 2, p. 556-564
    Received: Dec 9, 1997

    * Corresponding author(s): bhntam@cityu.edu.hk
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  1. N. F. Y. Tam * and
  2. Y. S. Wong
  1. Department of Biology and Chemistry, City University of Hong Kong, Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon, Hong Kong.



Soil leaching experiments were conducted to assess the capacity of mangrove soils in purifying synthetic wastewater containing pollutant concentrations four times of that found in local municipal sewage and of two salinities (fresh vs. saline water). Results on leachate nutrient and heavy metal concentrations reveal that the mangrove soils were capable of removing certain amount of pollutants from wastewater, and the removal efficiency varied between pollutants. The soils were most effective in retaining heavy metals such as Cu but were less effective for Mn and Zn. Similarly, the wastewater-borne NH+4 was more easily leached than P. The soil data show that most pollutants were accumulated in the top layer (0–1.5 cm) of the soil tray, with little downward migration. Differences between treated and control soil nutrient and heavy metal concentrations were not found in the soil masses below the surface 1.5 cm. In the surface layer, the mangrove soils treated with wastewater had significantly higher concentrations of NH+4-N, total and extractable P, total and extractable Cu, Cd, Zn and Mn. On the other hand, there was no significant elevation in total nitrogen content in mangrove softs treated with wastewater when compared with the control. Soils receiving wastewater prepared in deionized water (fresh) had slightly higher pollutant concentrations, and larger enrichment factors than that treated with saline wastewater (containing 1.5% salinity). These results suggest that mangrove soils could retain pollutants from wastewater but its efficiency would slightly be affected by salinity.

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