Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 170, Issue 1, pp 359-382

First online:

Speciation Of Pb In Industrially Polluted Soils

  • Pernille E. JensenAffiliated withDepartment of Civil Engineering, Technical University of Denmark Email author 
  • , Lisbeth M. OttosenAffiliated withDepartment of Civil Engineering, Technical University of Denmark
  • , Anne J. PedersenAffiliated withDepartment of Civil Engineering, Technical University of Denmark

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This study was aimed at elucidating the importance of original Pb-speciation versus soil-characteristics to mobility and distribution of Pb in industrially polluted soils. Ten industrially polluted Danish surface soils were characterized and Pb speciation was evaluated through SEM-EDX studies, examination of pH-dependent desorption, distribution in grain-size fractions and sequential extraction. Our results show that the first factors determining the speciation of Pb in soil are: (1) the stability of the original speciation and (2) the contamination level, while soil characteristics are of secondary importance. In nine of ten soils Pb was concentrated strongly in the soil fines (< 0.063 mm). In all soils, particles with a highly concentrated Pb-content were observed during SEM-EDX. In eight of the soils, the particles contained various Pb-species with aluminum/iron, phosphate, sulfate and various metals (in solder and other alloys) as important associates. In the one soil, where Pb was not concentrated in the soil fines, Pb was precipitated solely as PbCrO4, while pure (metallic) Pb was repeatedly observed in the last soil. Pb was bound strongly to the soils with > 50% extracted in step III (oxidizing) and IV (residual) of sequential extraction for all soils but one. A significant amount of exchangeable Pb existed only in severely contaminated soils, where the bonding capacity of organic matter and oxides was exceeded. Among soil constituents, Pb was observed to adsorb preferentially to feldspars and organic matter while presence of phosphate increased the strength of the Pb-bonding in phosphate-rich soils.


Pb pollution SEM-EDX sequential extraction soil speciation XRD