Metal Release under Anaerobic Conditions of Urban Soils of Four European Cities
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Urban soil contamination may represent an environmental threat in view of their proximity to humans. The ecological homogenization of urban areas has been postulated, and as the sources of pollution are the same in most European cities, it is possible that soil contamination is another factor of convergence. The current climate change with consequent increase of extreme rain events may affect the mobility of potentially toxic elements (PTE) thus increasing the risks. If the soil is submerged, Eh decreases and causes the solubilization of Fe and Mn oxides, which are important carriers of PTE. We compared the release of Cu, Pb, and Zn from 48 soils of four cities (namely Glasgow, Ljubljana, Sevilla, and Torino) when submerged for up to 30 days. A decrease of the redox potential was observed in all soils after a few days and an increase of Mn and then Fe in solution. Cu, Pb, and Zn were consequently released to the solution according to the general soil contamination. Despite the marked differences in soil properties, the reaction to anaerobiosis appeared to be similar in all samples indicating that waterlogging of urban soil contaminated with PTE may pose a serious environmental risk and substantiating the hypothesis of ecological convergence.
KeywordsUrban soils Climate change Potentially toxic elements Redox Flooding
We are indebted to Luis Madrid, formerly at the Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiología of Sevilla (CSIC), Spain, for his guidance and advice. M. Biasioli is grateful to the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, University of Strathclyde and the Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiología of Sevilla (CSIC), Spain, where part of this research was carried out.
This work was conducted with the financial support of the European Commission, URBSOIL project, under contract EVK4-CT-2001-00053.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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