Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 142, Issue 1–4, pp 395–408 | Cite as

Effects of Iron Precipitation and Organic Amendments on Porosity and Penetrability in Sulphide Mine Tailings

Abstract

This paper evaluates the effects of organic amendments and ironprecipitation on pore size distribution and mechanical resistancein sulphide mine tailings, as related to plant habitat requirements. Unaltered tailings, oxidised tailings collected from untreated, fertilized and sludge-amended plots in the field,and mixtures of unaltered tailings and organic amendments prepared in the laboratory, were analysed for pore size distribution. The organic amendments (sewage sludge, peat mossand paper mill sludge) were each applied at the rates of 0, 16 and 33% by volume. A difference in pore-size distribution between untreated and treated samples was shown in both field and laboratory samples. Both inorganic and organic amendments caused a decrease in pores holding water at soil water potentials–10 to –60 kPa, but increased the pores holding water at tensions below –60 kPa. This resulted in a decreased or unchanged content of plant available water (Wa) in all laboratory samples and in the fertilized field samples. Penetration studies in the field showed that additions of fertilizer, without any organic matter, had resulted in hardpans in the oxidised tailings that significantly increased themechanical resistance in the surface horizon. Thus, this studyindicates that the physical influence of the oxidation processestaking place in sulphide mine tailings can be magnified by additions of soil amendments. The aggregation of iron oxides and negatively charged particles such as organic substances orphosphate anions may cement the tailings, which can result inimpeded root growth.

iron precipitation mechanical resistance plant available water pore size distribution soil amendments sulphide mine tailings 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Soil SciencesUniversity of Agricultural SciencesUppsalaSweden

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