Distribution and mobility of lead (Pb), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), and antimony (Sb) from ammunition residues on shooting ranges for small arms located on mires

Abstract

An environmental survey was performed on shooting ranges for small arms located on minerotrophic mires. The highest mean concentrations of Pb (13 g/kg), Cu (5.2 g/kg), Zn (1.1 g/kg), and Sb (0.83 g/kg) in the top soil were from a range located on a poor minerotrophic and acidic mire. This range had also the highest concentrations of Pb, Cu, Zn, and Sb in discharge water (0.18 mg/L Pb, 0.42 mg/L Cu, 0.63 mg/L Zn, and 65 μg/L Sb) and subsurface soil water (2.5 mg/L Pb, 0.9 mg/L Cu, 1.6 mg/L Zn, and 0.15 mg/L Sb). No clear differences in the discharge of ammunition residues between the mires were observed based on the characteristics of the mires. In surface water with high pH (pH ~7), there was a trend with high concentrations of Sb and lower relative concentrations of Cu and Pb. The relatively low concentrations of ammunition residues both in the soil and soil water, 20 cm below the top soil, indicates limited vertical migration in the soil. Channels in the mires, made by plant roots or soil layer of less decomposed materials, may increase the rate of transport of contaminated surface water into deeper soil layers and ground water. A large portion of both Cu and Sb were associated to the oxidizable components in the peat, which may imply that these elements form inner-sphere complexes with organic matter. The largest portion of Pb and Zn were associated with the exchangeable and pH-sensitive components in the peat, which may imply that these elements form outer-sphere complexes with the peat.

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Acknowledgements

We are indebted to our colleague, Ms. Marita Ljønes, and the students Ms. Ingvild Gudim (MSc), Ms. Sigurbjørg Hjartardottir (BSc), Ms. Anne Mari Herfindal (BSc), and Ms. Frøya Homlong (BSc) for participating in the field work and laboratory experiments. The authors also wish to acknowledge the anonymous reviewers of the manuscript and the editor of the journal. The work was supported by grants from the Norwegian Defense Estates Agency (Project Nos. 108901 and 360301).

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Mariussen, E., Johnsen, I.V. & Strømseng, A.E. Distribution and mobility of lead (Pb), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), and antimony (Sb) from ammunition residues on shooting ranges for small arms located on mires. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24, 10182–10196 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-8647-8

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Keywords

  • Shooting ranges
  • Mires
  • Peat
  • Heavy metals
  • Antimony
  • Sequential extractions