AN INVESTIGATION OF THE SPATIAL VARIABILITY OF HEAVY METAL CONCENTRATIONS IN FLOODPLAIN SEDIMENTS AROUND THE METALLURGICAL COMBINE OF ELBASANI, ALBANIA PUBLISHEDOdeta Tota, Bujar Huqi, Eugen Skuraj, Fatbardh Sallaku
The metallurgical complex of Elbasan is the largest and most important one in the country but at the same time represents a source of significant heavy metal contamination in the wider watershed Shkumbini River. This study aimed to determine the degree of soil contamination by Cu, Zn, and Cd, with respect to distance from the metallurgical complex and determine various metal fractions for selected soil samples. Soil samples (80) from surface (0-20 cm) were collected at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 km distance from the metallurgical plant. Total content of heavy metals were determined by the mineralization of soil samples and a sequential fractionation procedure was used to partition the heavy metals into fractions using standard methodology. The data indicated that the soils around the plant are highly polluted up to 15 Km away from the plant with Cd, Zn and Cu (50 to 159; 86 to 147; 0.76 to 2.25 mg/kg soil, respectively). A sequential extraction technique used to characterize bonding of metals to the soils showed that organic matter, carbonates and poorly crystalline Fe oxides, and tightly bound residual fractions contained > 60 % of the total Cd, Zn and Cu. Exchangeable Cd was a significant fraction, averaging from 30 to 40 % of the total present. Although amounts of organic matter and Fe oxides were of obvious importance in influencing this distribution, there was little variation in different fractions found in this study. Results from this study would help to implement appropriate soil-management techniques to limit mobility and plant availability of heavy metals minimizing their transfer into the food chain. The pollution emitted from this complex has caused many problems to the microenvironment and expected to have adverse effects on the public health and especially pregnant, lactating mothers and children. Heavy metal contamination in the soil/water/flora is of great concern because of possible influence on the food chain. Surveys and monitoring of trace metal background levels are required to assess heavy metal contamination in soils (compared with natural concentration variations of heavy metals in soils). Based on those considerations, an immediate action is required to ameliorate the situation, since the natural resources (soil, water, and air) have been contaminated. Sustainable development of this area would increase the income of the associated communities, increase their property values, and improve the health situation. The objectives of this study were to: (i) determine the degree of soil contamination by Cu, Zn, and Cd, with respect to distance from the metallurgical complex of Elbasan, Albania, and (ii) determine various metal fractions for selected soil samples. The data gathered from this study will allow the evaluation of soil-management techniques to limit mobility and plant availability of heavy metals and to ultimately minimize their transfer into the food chain.
heavy metal; soil contamination; sequential extraction