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Soil solution interactions may limit Pb remediation using P amendments in an urban soil

Obrycki, J. F., K. G. Scheckel and N. T. Basta . 2016.


Lead (Pb) contaminated soils are a potential exposure hazard to the public. Amending soils with phosphorus (P) may reduce Pb soil hazards. Soil from Cleveland, OH containing 726 ± 14 mg Pb kg-1 was amended in a laboratory study with bone meal and triple super phosphate (TSP) at 5:1 P:Pb molar ratios. Soil was acidified, neturalized and re-acidified to encourage Pb phosphate formation. PRS™-probes were used to evaluate changes in soil solution chemistry. Soil acidification did not decrease in vitro bioaccessible (IVBA) Pb using either a pH 1.5, 0.4 M glycine solution or a pH 2.5 solution with organic acids. PRS™-probe data found soluble Pb increased 10-fold in acidic conditions compared to circumnetural pH conditions. In acidic conditions (p = 3-4), TSP treated soils increased detected P 10-fold over untreated soils. Bone meal application did not increase PRS™-probe detected P, indicating there may have been insufficient P to react with Pb. X-ray absorption spectroscopy suggested a 10% increase in pyromorphite formation for the TSP treated soil only. Treatments increased soil electrical conductivity above 16 mS cm-1, potentially causing a new salinity hazard. This study used a novel approach by combining the human ingestion endpoint, PRS™-probes, and X-ray absorption spectroscopy to evaluate treatment efficacy. PRS™-probe data indicated potentially excess Ca relative to P across incubation steps that could have competed with Pb for soluble P. More research is needed to characterize soil solutions in Pb contaminated urban soils to identify where P treatments might be effective and when competing cations, such as Ca, Fe, and Zn may limit low rate P applications for treating Pb soils.

Key Words

Lead (Pb) Phosphorus (P) Bioaccessibility In vitro Remediation