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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 32 No. 2, p. 507-514
    Received: Nov 20, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): gerald.zagury@polymtl.ca
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Occurrence of Metals in Soil and Ground Water Near Chromated Copper Arsenate–Treated Utility Poles

  1. Gérald J. Zagury *a,
  2. Réjean Samsonb and
  3. Louise Deschênesb
  1. a Dep. of Civil, Geological, and Mining Engineering, Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal, P.O. Box 6079 Station Centre-Ville, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3C 3A7
    b NSERC Industrial Chair in Site Remediation and Management, Department of Chemical Engineering, Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal, P.O. Box 6079 Station Centre-Ville, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3C 3A7


To thoroughly investigate the metal contamination around chromated copper arsenate (CCA)/polyethylene glycol (PEG)–treated utility poles, a total of 189 soil samples obtained from different depths and distances near six treated poles in the Montreal area (Canada) were analyzed for Cu, Cr, and As content. Various soil physicochemical properties were also determined. Ground water samples collected below the poles were analyzed for metals and bioassays with Daphnia magna were conducted. Generally, sandy soils had lower contaminant levels than clayey and organic soils. Copper concentrations in soil were highest followed by As and Cr. The highest Cu (1460 ± 677 mg kg−1), As (410 ± 150 mg kg−1), and Cr (287 ± 32 mg kg−1) concentrations were found at the ground line and immediately adjacent to the pole. Contaminant levels then decreased with distance, approaching background levels within 0.1 m from the pole for Cr and 0.5 m for Cu and As. Chromium and Cu levels generally approached background levels at a depth of 0.5 m. Average As content near the pole on all study sites was three to eight times higher than Quebec's Level C criterion (50 mg kg−1), although it dropped to 31 mg kg−1 at 0.1 m. Results also showed that As persisted up to 1 m in soil depth (17–54 mg kg−1). Copper and Cr concentrations in ground water samples were always <1.000 mg L−1 and <0.05 mg L−1, respectively and Cr(VI) was <0.02 mg L−1 One sample contained an As concentration > 0.025 mg L−1 but bioassays showed that, overall, ground water had a low ecotoxic potential.

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Copyright © 2003. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.32:507–514.