Terrestrial environment

Changes in the sorption, desorption, distribution, and availability of copper, induced by application of sewage sludge on Chilean soils contaminated by mine tailings

Tatiana Garrido , Jorge Mendoza , Francisco Arriagada


Received July 13, 2011,Revised August 04, 2011, Accepted , Available online May 06, 2012

Volume 24,2012,Pages 912-918

The effect of mine tailings and sewage sludge was evaluated on sorption, desorption, availability and distribution of copper in two soils, one high (sandy soil) and one low in copper (clay soil). In both soils contaminated by mine tailings the copper sorption capacity and the affinity of the substrate for the metal decreased substantially compared to the uncontaminated soils, however, the sorption remained always high in the clay soil substrates. In the substrates with sandy soil, the high Cu content and lower clay content were determining factors in the lower magnitude of the sorption. Similarly, metal desorption was closely related to these two parameters, and it was higher in clay soil with lower pH. In general, the application of sewage sludge favored the sorption of Cu in soils contaminated and uncontaminated with mine tailings, and in all cases desorption decreased, an effect that remained for at least 30 days. Simple extraction of Cu with CaCl2 and diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid gave contradictory results, so a careful choice of the procedure is required, depending on the level of metal in the soil and on the acting principle of the extracting agent. In that relation, more complete information on the changes in the metal forms was obtained by application of the sequential extraction procedure proposed by the European Community Bureau of Reference.

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