Screening level ecological risk assessment of abandoned metal mines using chemical and ecotoxicological lines of evidence

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In the present study, a screening level site-specific ecological risk assessment (ERA)was conducted on 10 abandoned metal mines in Korea to determine the ecological risk and prioritize the mines requiring further investigation. A cost-saving approach was adopted by combining both the chemical (ChemLoE)and the ecotoxicological (EcotoxLoE)lines of evidence for the evaluation of integrated risk (IR), rather than applying the full spectrum of Triad, including ecological LoE. The risk values for ChemLoE were derived by calculating the toxic pressure based on the total and 0.01 M CaCl2 extractable metal(loid)concentrations. The risk values for EcotoxLoE were based on the mortality and reproduction of the collembolan species Paronychiurus kimi in the mine soils. A response surface model with a central composite design (CCD)was constructed to standardize the effects of soil physicochemical properties (i.e., organic matter content, clay content, and soil pH)on the reproduction of P. kimi. The predicted number of offspring was used as a reference for the calculation of risk value for reproduction. The ChemLoE and EcotoxLoE values ranged from 0.34 to 1.00 and 0.12 to 0.49, respectively, in the surveyed mines. The contribution of the ChemLoE value to the IR was higher than that of the EcotoxLoE value for all mines. Overall, two of the 10 mines were classified as high-risk soils with high IR values (IR > 0.76), but large deviations were also observed between the LoEs in these mines, suggesting the need for further studies to confirm the potential risks. The future investigations of these mines should focus particularly on providing additional evidence to reduce the degree of uncertainty for risk assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1081-1090
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jun

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education ( NRF-2017R1D1A1B03036474 ). This work was also supported by the Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute (KEITI) through “The Chemical Accident Prevention Technology Development Project ( 2016001970003 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd


  • Abandoned mines
  • Bioassays
  • Line of evidence
  • Screening level assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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