We investigated the source of heavy metals in soils at a site in South Korea, where a ground transportation of zinc-concentrates (ZnS, sphalerite) occurs daily. Seventy soil samples were collected at the site and analyzed for residual concentrations of heavy metals, as well as their chemical and mineralogical properties. Enrichment factor was calculated based on local geochemical background level of metals in soils and confirmed the contamination of soils in the area by an anthropogenic source. The concentration data were also subjected to a Pearson correlation analysis to determine the possible influences of anthropogenic sources and identify the primary source. A slight negative correlation between heavy metals and Al, and a weak correlation between heavy metals and Fe implied that the heavy metals originated from anthropogenic inputs rather than a geogenic source. A strong positive linear correlation between Zn and other heavy metals (i.e., As, Cd, Cu, Pb, r ≥ 0.96, p ≤ 0.001) suggested the influence of a single anthropogenic source of zinc-concentrates containing all of these heavy metals. Zinc-concentrate oxidation and leaching experiments, which mimicked physical and chemical weathering in the environment, indicated that zinc-concentrate could be transformed to zinc oxides and release Cd and Pb upon precipitation. The findings in this study provide an insight into the fate of the Zn that the original form of zinc-concentrate would not remain in the soil after long-term weathering, which should be considered when source of heavy metals is identified.
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Acknowledgements We thank Daehoon Lee and Joonwoo Park for their help during the sample collection and analysis, and Kyung Su Park, Sung Hwa Choi, and Eun Ji Song of the Advanced Analysis Center, Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), for their chemical analysis. This work was supported by Korea Ministry of Environment as The GAIA Project-2015000540001.
We thank Daehoon Lee and Joonwoo Park for their help during the sample collection and analysis, and Kyung Su Park, Sung Hwa Choi, and Eun Ji Song of the Advanced Analysis Center, Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), for their chemical analysis. This work was supported by Korea Ministry of Environment as The GAIA Project-2015000540001.
© 2017, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.
- Heavy metals
- Pearson correlation
- Soil contamination
- Source identification
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Global and Planetary Change
- Environmental Chemistry
- Water Science and Technology
- Soil Science
- Earth-Surface Processes