Heavy metal pollution in the soil surrounding a thermal power plant in Playas de Rosarito, Mexico

  • M. A. Pastrana-Corral
  • F. T. Wakida
  • J. Temores-Peña
  • D. D. Rodriguez-Mendivil
  • E. García-Flores
  • T. D. J. Piñon-Colin
  • A. Quiñonez-Plaza
Original Article


The generation of electricity has been identified as one of the main pollutant activities, and some studies have established an increment of heavy metals in soil in the areas surrounding these plants. The aim of this study was to evaluate the soil concentrations of heavy metals in the zone surrounding a thermoelectric power in Mexico. Thirty-two top soil samples (0–5 cm) were collected; additionally, four depth profiles (1 m) were investigated. Median concentrations for chromium, vanadium, nickel, mercury, and cadmium were 47, 47, 73, 0.02, and 0.01 mg/kg, respectively. Higher Cr, Ni, and V concentrations were observed in the soil depth profiles located closer to the plant in comparison with the concentrations found in the soil depth profile located further away from the plant; these results may indicate a possible accumulation of these metals. The geoaccumulation index results indicated that most of the sites were in the classifications of unpolluted and unpolluted to moderately polluted (classes 1 and 2). The statistical results showed that downwind of the plant in relation to the prevailing winds, there was a strong correlation between soil concentrations of chromium, copper, nickel, and vanadium. Based on the results of this study, it can be concluded that the use of fuel oil at the thermoelectric plant contributed to the accumulation of vanadium and nickel in the soil of the surrounding areas, as well as chromium and copper.


Fuel oil Vanadium Environmental impact Fly ash Geoaccumulation 



This research was supported by Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (UABC) through 18va internal competition of research Grants No 3884. This paper is part of the doctoral research by M.A. Pastrana-Corral at the MYDCI doctoral program at Universidad Autónoma de Baja California.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 21 kb)
12665_2017_6928_MOESM2_ESM.docx (20 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 19 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. A. Pastrana-Corral
    • 1
  • F. T. Wakida
    • 1
  • J. Temores-Peña
    • 1
  • D. D. Rodriguez-Mendivil
    • 1
  • E. García-Flores
    • 1
  • T. D. J. Piñon-Colin
    • 1
  • A. Quiñonez-Plaza
    • 1
  1. 1.Universidad Autonoma de Baja CaliforniaTijuanaMexico

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