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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

MOBILIZATION, LEACHING, AND TRANSPORT OF Pb AND Cu IN POLLUTED SOILS **

Abstract

Mining practices have greatly increased the global presence of heavy metals in the environment, leading to damage of important ecosystem services. In some areas, heavy metals are concentrated in the top layer of the soil rendering them unusable and, in some cases, even making the areas uninhabitable by humans. The current project assesses how different soil amendments affect plant-availability and mobilization of lead (Pb) and copper (Cu) in soils. This project also investigates the effect of soil remediation on the leaching of heavy metals from polluted soils into the groundwater system. Groundwater is one of the main sources of freshwater on the planet and, therefore, needs protection from negative human impacts and contamination. To investigate the influence of soil amendments on leaching of heavy metals from contaminated soils, a greenhouse pot study in which heavy metal-contaminated soils, biochar and compost are being used in conjunction with hyperaccumulator plants is being conducted. This study will help increase our understanding of the mobilization and downward transport of leached Cu and Pb in contaminated soils. Heavy metal concentrations of the soils are analyzed at the beginning and end of the study using X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry (XRF), while leachate is analyzed using spectrophotometry (Hach spectrophotometer) and chromatography (Dionex™ Aquion™ Ion Chromatography System). The initial soil concentrations for Pb ranged from 2000 ppm to 6000 ppm while for Cu the range was from 50 ppm to 280 ppm.

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