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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Heavy Metals in the Environment

In Situ Accumulation of Copper, Chromium, Nickel, and Zinc in Soils Used for Long-term Waste Water Reclamation


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 37 No. 4, p. 1477-1487
    Received: July 23, 2007

    * Corresponding author(s): c.lin@bnu.edu.cn
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  1. Chunye Lin *,
  2. Ido Negev,
  3. Gil Eshel and
  4. Amos Banin
  1. Dep. of Soil and Water Sciences, Faculty of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Quality Sciences, The Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem, P.O. Box 12, Rehovot 76100 Israel


We studied the long-term in situ accumulation of Cu, Cr, Ni, and Zn in the soil profile of a large-scale effluent recharge basin after 24 yr of operation in a wastewater reclamation plant using the Soil Aquifer System approach in the Coastal Plain of Israel. The objective was to quantify metals accumulation in the basin's soil profile, clarify retention mechanisms, and calculate material balances and metal removal efficiency as the metal loads increase. Effluent recharge led to measurable accumulation, relative to the pristine soil, of Ni and Zn in the 0- to 4-m soil profile, with concentration increases of 0.3 to 1.3 mg kg−1 and 2.9 to 6.4 mg kg−1, respectively. Copper accumulated only in the 0- to 1-m top soil layer, with concentration increase of 0.28 to 0.76 mg kg−1 Chromium concentration increased by 3.1 to 7.3 mg kg−1 in the 0- to 1-m horizon and 0.9 to 2.3 mg kg−1 at deeper horizons. Sequential selective extraction showed Cu tended to be preferentially retained by Fe oxides and organic matter (OM), Cr by OM, Ni by OM, and carbonate and Zn by carbonate. The average total retained amounts of Cu, Cr, Ni, and Zn were 0.7 ± 1.0, 13.6 ± 4.8, 4.3 ± 3.6, and 28.7 ± 5.4 g per a representative unit soil slab (1 m2 × 4 m) of the basin, respectively. This amounts to 3.6 ± 4.9%, 79.5 ± 28.0%, 8.0 ± 6.9%, and 9.3 ± 1.8% of the Cu, Cr, Ni, and Zn loads, respectively, applied during 24 yr of effluent recharge (total of ∼1880 m effluent load). The low long-term overall removal efficiency of the metals from the recharged effluent in the top horizon may be due to the metals' low concentrations in the recharged effluent and the low adsorption affinity and retention capacity of the sandy soil toward them. This leads to attainment of a quasi-equilibrium and a steady state in element distribution between the recharged effluent solution and the soil after few years of recharge and relatively small cumulative effluent loadings.

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Copyright © 2008. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyAmerican Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America