Article

Water, Air, & Soil Pollution

, Volume 216, Issue 1, pp 581-604

The Nature and Distribution of Metals in Soils of the Sydney Estuary Catchment, Australia

  • Gavin F. BirchAffiliated withEnvironmental Geology Group, School of Geosciences, Sydney University Email author 
  • , Matthew VanderhaydenAffiliated withEnvironmental Geology Group, School of Geosciences, Sydney University
  • , Marco OlmosAffiliated withEnvironmental Geology Group, School of Geosciences, Sydney University

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Abstract

Total topsoil 50th percentile Cu, Pb and Zn concentrations (n = 491) in the Sydney estuary catchment were 23 μg g−1, 60 μg g−1 and 108 μg g−1, respectively. Nine percent, 6% and 25% of samples were above soil quality guidelines, respectively and mean enrichment was 14, 35 and 29 times above background, respectively. Soils in the south-eastern region of the catchment exhibited highest metal concentrations. The close relationship between soil metal and road network distributions and outcomes of vehicular emissions modelling, strongly suggested vehicular traffic was the primary source of metals to catchment soils. Catchment soil and road dust probably make an important contribution to contamination of the adjacent estuary. The concentration of soil metals followed the land use trend: industrial > urban > undeveloped areas. A high proportion (mean 45%, 62% and 42%, for Cu, Pb and Zn, respectively) of metals in the soils may be bioavailable.

Keywords

Soil Sydney Metals Estuary Bioavailability