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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Special Submissions

Biological Aspects of Metal Waste Reclamation with Biosolids


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 36 No. 4, p. 1154-1162
    Received: Sept 12, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): ts@iung.pulawy.pl
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  1. Tomasz Stuczynski *a,
  2. Grzegorz Siebieleca,
  3. Walter L. Danielsb,
  4. Greg McCartyc and
  5. Rufus L. Chaneyc
  1. a Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation, Pulawy, Poland
    b Virginia Tech., Blacksburg, VA 24061
    c USDA, Beltsville, MD 20705


Smelter waste deposits pose an environmental threat worldwide. Biosolids are potentialy useful in reclamation of such sites. Biological aspects of revegetation of Zn and Pb smelter wastelands using biosolids are discussed in this report. The goal of the studies was to assess to what extent biosolid treatment would support ecosystem functioning as measured by biological indicators such as enzyme activities of revegetated metal waste or plant growth. Another crucial aspect was related to the assessment of metal transfer to the ecosystem which could affect the health of local fauna and also create a food chain risk. A field experiment was conducted on a smelter waste deposit in Piekary Slaskie, Silesia, Poland, with two separate fields—established on wastes from the Welz and Doerschel smelting processes. The tested methods allowed revegetation of the fields—application of municipal biosolid at the rate 300 dry t ha−1 combined with the incorporation of commercial lime in a mixed oxide and carbonate form at the rate of 1.5 and 30 t for Welz waste or use of a 30 cm by-product lime cap followed by incorporation of biosolid at a rate of 300 t ha−1 for the more acidic Doerschel waste. Studies on biological activities demonstrated that the reclamation methods used are an effective way to establish new, fully-functioning ecosystems that support plant growth. They also provided strong evidence that forage crops grown on Zn, Cd and Pb contaminated sites reclaimed using lime and biosolids do not pose identified risk for wildlife and food safety.

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