Valorization of a treated soil via amendments: fractionation and oral bioaccessibility of Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn

  • Gerald J. ZaguryEmail author
  • Jhony A. Rincon Bello
  • Mert Guney


The present study aims to transform a treated soil (TS) into a more desirable resource by modifying physico-chemical properties via amendments while reducing toxic metals’ mobility and oral bioaccessibility. A hydrocarbon-contaminated soil submitted to treatment (TS) but still containing elevated concentrations of Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn has been amended with compost, sand, and Al2(SO4)3 to render it usable for horticulture. Characterization and sequential extraction were performed for TS and four amended mixtures (AM1-4). P and K availability and metal bioaccessibility were investigated in TS and AM2. Amendment improved soil properties for all mixtures and yielded a usable product (AM2 20 % TS, 49 % compost, 30 % sand, 1 % Al2(SO4)3) satisfying regulatory requirements except for Pb content. In particular, AM2 had improved organic matter (OM) and cation exchange capacity (CEC), highly increased P and K availability, and reduced total metal concentrations. Furthermore, amendment decreased metal mobile fraction likely to be plant-available (in mg kg−1, assumed as soluble/exchangeable + carbonates fractions). For AM2, estimated Pb bioavailability decreased from 1.50 × 103 mg kg−1 (TS) to 238 mg kg−1 (52.4 % (TS) to 34.2 %). Bioaccessible concentrations of Cu, Ni, and Zn (mg kg−1) were lower in AM2 than in TS, but there was no significant decrease for Pb. The results suggest that amendment improved soil by modifying its chemistry, resulting in lower metal mobile fraction (in %, for Cu and Zn) and bioaccessibility (in %, for Cu only). Amending soils having residual metal contamination can be an efficient valorization method, indicating potential for reducing treatment cost and environmental burden by rendering disposal/additional treatment unnecessary. Further studies including plant bioavailability are recommended to confirm results.


Metals Oral bioaccessibility Metal mobility Sequential extractions Soil contamination Soil valorization 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support provided by the MITACS-Accélération program and Northex Environnement Inc. The authors also thank Marie Josée Lamothe and Kathleen Dubé for their input and support to this project; and Manon Leduc, Audrey Laprade, and Lucie Jean for their assistance in the laboratory. Finally, the authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerald J. Zagury
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jhony A. Rincon Bello
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mert Guney
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Civil, Geological and Mining EngineeringÉcole Polytechnique de MontréalMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Northex Environnement Inc.ContrecoeurCanada

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