Water, Air, & Soil Pollution: Focus

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 163–176

Initial Changes in Refilled Lysimeters Built with Metal Polluted Topsoil and Acidic or Calcareous Subsoils as Indicated by Changes in Drainage Water Composition

  • Jörg Luster
  • Manoj Menon
  • Sandra Hermle
  • Rainer Schulin
  • Madeleine S. Günthardt-Goerg
  • Bernd Nowack
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11267-007-9169-z

Cite this article as:
Luster, J., Menon, M., Hermle, S. et al. Water Air Soil Pollut: Focus (2008) 8: 163. doi:10.1007/s11267-007-9169-z

Abstract

Soil translocation for recultivation of soil removed from construction sites and for the preparation of refilled lysimeters inevitably involves disturbance of soil structure, and, if intermediate storage is included, also drying and rewetting of the soil. We report on an experiment with model forest ecosystems, where uncontaminated forest subsoils were covered with non-contaminated or freshly heavy metal (mainly Zn and Cu) contaminated topsoil in large lysimeters. Monitoring of the chemical composition of the drainage water revealed two distinct soil conditioning phases. During an initial phase of about a year strongly elevated nitrate and sulfate concentrations occurred that were attributed to a mineralisation flush caused by the increased accessability of mineralisable nitrogen and sulfur in destroyed aggregates. These effects were significantly larger in lysimeters with calcareous subsoil than in those with acidic subsoil. The second phase was characterised by a gradual decrease in dissolved organic carbon and sulfate concentrations, in particular in the acidic subsoil. This decrease may be attributed to the depletion of pools made accessible during aggregate destruction or the formation of new aggregates. These chemical changes had only little effects on the concentrations of copper and zinc in the drainage water. Based on our results, it can be concluded that large refilled lysimeters can be used for many purposes without risk of compromised results, if a conditioning phase of about 1 year with sufficiently moist soil conditions is respected. Nevertheless, gradual changes in soil chemical characteristics still occur after this initial phase. Implications for the recultivation of sites using relocated soils are discussed.

Keywords

Drying and rewetting of soilsHeavy metalsMineralisation of soil organic matterRefilled lysimetersSoil relocationSoil solutionSoil structure

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jörg Luster
    • 1
  • Manoj Menon
    • 2
    • 3
  • Sandra Hermle
    • 1
  • Rainer Schulin
    • 2
  • Madeleine S. Günthardt-Goerg
    • 1
  • Bernd Nowack
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow, and Landscape ResearchBirmensdorfSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Terrestrial EcosystemsETH ZurichZürichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of Geological Sciences and EngineeringUniversity of NevadaRenoUSA
  4. 4.EMPA – Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and ResearchSt. GallenSwitzerland