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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Heavy Metals in the Environment

Potential Adverse Effects of Applying Phosphate Amendments to Immobilize Soil Contaminants


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 40 No. 4, p. 1135-1142
    Received: Sept 6, 2011

    * Corresponding author(s): fmajs@alaska.edu
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  1. Frantisek Majs *
  1. Dep. of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Univ. of Alaska-Fairbanks, 900 Yukon Dr., Rm. 194, Fairbanks, AK 99775-6160; formerly Dep. of Crop and Soil Sciences, Univ. of Georgia, 3111 Miller Plant Sciences, Athens, GA 30602-7272. Assigned to Associate Editor Dan Kaplan


Seven-day batch equilibrium experiments were conducted to measure the efficacy of four phosphate amendments (trisodium trimetaphosphate [TP3], dodecasodium phytate [Na-IP6], precipitated calcium phytate [Ca-IP6], and hydroxyapatite [HA]) for immobilizing Ni and U in organic-rich sediment. Using the eight-step modified Miller's sequential extraction procedure and the USEPA's Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure, the effect of these amendments on the distribution of Ni and U was assessed. Relative to unamended controls, equilibrium aqueous-phase U concentrations were lower following HA and Ca-IP6 additions but higher following TP3 and Na-IP6 amendments, whereas aqueous Ni concentrations were not decreased only in the Na-IP6 amended treatment relative to the control. The poor rates of contaminant immobilization following TP3 and Na-IP6 amendments correlate with the dispersion of organic matter and organo-mineral colloids, which probably contain sorbed U and Ni. While all amendments shifted the U distribution toward more recalcitrant soil fractions, Ni was redistributed to more labile soil fractions. This study cautions that the addition of orthophosphates and organophosphates as contaminant immobilizing amendments may in fact have adverse effects, especially in high-organic soils. Particular attention is warranted at sites with mixed contaminants with varying geochemical behaviors.

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Copyright © 2011. Copyright © by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, Inc.